There is clearly the heart of good story here but it simply hasn't communicated itself well on this occasion and doesn't feel especially compelling or emotive.
Wake follows the story of Mel and her journey after the death of her father, while attempting to explore belief systems and the support networks we surround ourselves with in life. She seeks the insights of the people in her life to help her move on and find meaning in her experiences. These conversations move through different settings, from the funeral of her father, to a cruise holiday and a subsequent date night. They serve to showcase the diverse ways in which society finds happiness and resolution. One woman's salvation is the distraction and focus of yoga, a young man finds meaning in his pursuit of extrinsic achievement and the solace of religious belief is presented by its followers a framework for contentment.
The show feels a little staid for the Brighton Fringe and the life lessons are well-worn adages but there is some gentle observational humour to be found. There are some nice witty lines for Pamela Stirling to deliver as Mel and the stage direction when using the whole cast to create a human cruise liner is brilliant. It's a very clever little device in an otherwise minimal stage. Beyond that though what is left has a couple of issues. It feels rushed and the story is not always clear, even the cast movement is frantic in pace which jars with the reflective tone of the story. There is clearly the heart of good story here but it simply hasn't communicated itself well on this occasion and doesn't feel especially compelling or emotive.
The entire cast have got to be recognised for their spirit though; playing to an exceptionally small audience they held their nerve and delivered – but it clearly affected them. Kayleigh Bennet gave a sweet and engaging performance about faith and the standout was Peter Rafferty. He would undoubtedly have held the attention of a full house with his arresting and bombastic money-obsessed high-flyer. If he was hoping to channel Danny Dyer, it really worked.