Hidden deep within the dark caverns of the Underbelly Cowgate unravels the eerie story of The Lonely One. Coming from sold-out runs in London and Ipswich this is a breath of chillingly fresh air to the Fringe that is so swamped with comedy. It is a serious and tense piece; I quite literally gulped at one point.
The story comes from an excerpt of the novel Dandelion Wine which Rachel Warr adapted, directs and stars in. Rachel has done an excellent job of ensuring the performances are natural and the characters believable. As in any good thriller the pace is key and this one builds beautifully through the combination of a good set of actors, a solid script and of course the lighting.
The set is limited but finely detailed with the use of light being key to setting the scene. Whether it's the spinning of the fan in the sweet shop or the flickering screen at the cinema, the lighting techniques are varied and clever. The use of shadow puppets, for the most part, I didn't feel added much and I had to strain to see the small figures round the heads of other audience members.
The cast of four work seamlessly together telling the story and acting as stage hands simultaneously. This means there are times when there is a lot of activity onstage but your attention is kept focused on the story.
The only real criticism is to be levelled at the venue as the guffawing and general noise from a comedy show in the next room has a tendency to tear through this quiet and measured piece. This oversight on the venue's side is unfortunate but the play is engrossing enough that these moments are quickly forgotten.
I left with muscles sore from the strain of tensing as the suspense took centre stage. I was genuinely relieved to see it was still daytime outside, a walk home in the dark after a thriller like that would have left me with a sore neck from looking over my shoulder for The Lonely One.
The Lonely One runs every day at 6.50pm at the Underbelly's Iron Belly until the 26th of August.