The critically acclaimed Airborne theatre company have hit the Fringe once again, this time with a new play, Tell Me A Secret. This performance showed huge promise but failed to live up to its full potential.
The idea behind the show is incredibly innovative and interesting, creating an excited atmosphere before the play was set to begin. The premise being: there were four places around Leeds university (where the cast is from) that anonymous strangers posted their true-life secrets. The production was then devised from these secrets, creating a play with approximately 10 different scenes discussing issues such as self-harming, cheating and plastic surgery.
This performance clearly had a lot of potential and the basis seemed to have a lot to offer. The attention to detail and set design deserves a lot of praise. The simple white sheet at the back of the stage was used as a board in which a prop would be pinned to at the ending of each scene to act as a reminder. This was incredibly effective. Another part of the design, which really caught my eye, was the scattered pieces of paper across the floor of the stage. I was reading the secrets that had been posted in the box - the one closest to me saying ‘My mum is cheating on my dad and I don’t know how to tell him.’ This created a poignant and personal atmosphere within the theatre.
There were some enjoyable performances from the actors. A special mention must go to Tori Burgess for her exceptional work, especially in the scene which involved self-harming. Another scene that is worth a mention was that of George Howard and Isla Jackson-Ritchie as they spoke about their mother cheating on their father. Unlike other scenes, this was revisited a number of times which added a dimension that was missing from the others. However a criticism, which was at the forefront of my mind, was the underdevelopment of the characters. Due to the short scenes and the weighty issues that the play dealt with, it felt as if the topics weren’t dealt with in enough detail. It is a challenging task to take on the persona of a character with aspergers and the characters weren’t given enough scope to become truly immersed. This detracted heavily from the profound and complex potential nature of the play.
The ending of the play however was powerful. The entire cast came onto the stage and read secrets that had been posted, concluding the show in a poignant and powerful way. A choice few audience members were left with a final secret handed to them while the actor explained, ‘this is my secret.’