at C (Venue 34), Edinburgh
Mamet's Edmond begins with the play's namesake telling his wife,
'I'm going out.'
'Bring me back some cigarettes,' she says. 'No', says Edmond, 'I'm
going out and I'm not coming back.' He leaves and descends into
drunken kerb-crawling and gambling around the backstreets of New
York, and by the end of the play has brutally stabbed a 'filthy
coon', assaulted an innocent woman, murdered a wannabe actress who
is nothing but a 'fucking waitress', been arrested for attempted
rape, and been forced into oral sex by his cellmate in prison. Cheery
Mamet at his best.
most disturbing thing about Mamet's psychological thriller is its
cool, deadpan nature. The characters are a motley crue, from Edmond's
quiet, unassuming racism and misogyny, to the thief who promises
to take Edmond to a whore and then threatens to kill him with a
knife. But rarely do the characters even raise their voices, instead
talking about 'niggers', 'whores', 'bitches' as if they were talking
about the weather. It is only when Edmond stabs the black man who
promised him a prostitute and murders the wannabe actress that he
loses his patience. He screams at them as he drives the knife in,
spittle flying out of the actor's mouth as his face turns bright
red, seeing them as representative of everything that is wrong with
the world. 'Is that the kind of fucking world you wanna live in?'
he screams as he murders the woman, whose only crime is to claim
to be an actress when in fact she's a waitress.
is a superb, breathtaking production of one of Mamet's finest plays.
The Benet Catty theatre group perfectly captures the violence and
darkness of New York's underworld and the characters' isolation
from one another as they pass through it. Even the fight scenes
and sex scenes are done from a distance. When Edmond is battered
by two street gamblers, he is lying on one side of the stage reeling
from the gamblers' blows, who are on the other side of the stage
punching and kicking thin air. Similarly, the peepshow girl who
tells Edmond to 'get his dick out' sits on the opposite side of
the stage, both characters facing the audience rather than each
other, illustrating Edmond's isolation from his surroundings and
his declining grip on reality.
of the most moving scenes is when Edmond is speaking to his cellmate
towards the end of the play, his deadpan voice now reduced to a
whisper so that the audience can barely hear him, and the 'fucking
waitress' that he murdered appears at the back of the stage, subtly
mimicking Edmond's movements as he rocks back and forth. It is a
rare glimpse of humanity in a disturbing play, a projection of Edmond's
regret at the havoc he has wreaked since walking out on his wife.
Forget American Psycho. For a portrait of one man's descent into
madness and depravity go to see Edmond.