Salmon hits you hard from the moment you step in the venue. A bare mattress lies on the floor, our protagonist Angus strewn across it as casually as the mess of empty beer cans littered around him. This play, set in rural Scotland, follows the life of Angus as he spirals after the death of his dearly beloved dog. It might sound trite, but it’s anything but. A hard look at the under classes, those left behind in an age of urbanisation, and of an increasingly competitive job market outside of big cities.
Salmon hits you hard from the moment you step in the venue.
The actors in this play create a fractured world through use of imaginative writing, excellent music choice and masterful staging. Artfully representing the raves, the half-had conversations between mother and son, girlfriend and boyfriend, father and son, the hours upon hours wasted laid out on a bed waiting for life to happen. The writing is incredibly clever without being overly intellectual and naval-gazing. More abstract sections are juxtaposed with simple speak-to-the-audience sections. The cross-section of characters – mother, father, girlfriend, local police – give us a range of views and flesh out the story without resorting to Angus having to break character for exposition.
The writing was certainly my favourite part. The characters seemed exceptionally real, each one well justified in its inclusion and reactions to events that unfolded. The poetic, lilting nature of Angus’ speech lent itself well to the surreal undertones, as Josh Smith (the actor portraying Angus) never missed a beat delivering this heart-wrenching script. The police officer (Ben Spring), father (James Murphy) and girlfriend, Skye (Eden Hastings) also delivered sweet and emotionally raw performances.
It’s hard to say too much about this play without giving away its heart but I do wish the ending had a little more time to sit with us, perhaps with a bigger crescendo of energy just before the final blow. The emotional undertones of the play seemed to constantly simmer while never boiling. However, I would see it again and recommend that anyone who found the synopsis piqued their interest book a ticket.