Dalloway from Dyad Productions at Assembly Roxy is simply a “go and see” show for anyone who likes both adaptations of classic novels and stage-craft at its highest performance levels. Every Fringe I always look forward to catching up with Dyad Productions and whatever show they have brought to Edinburgh, and as with “Dalloway”, they never disappoint, or fail to impress me. Dyad Productions are simply a benchmark of quality that never wavers year from year.
Dalloway is of course adapted from Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel “Mrs Dalloway” and here through skilful writing and direction for stage (Elton Townend Jones) and a mesmerising performance (Rebecca Vaughan), Clarissa Dalloway and her post-war world of polite London society are brought to life as we meet her family, friends and passing acquaintances. I deliberately do not use the WW1 here as at the time of writing there was no other war to reference it against. The war and its aftermath are never far beneath the surface of this story, and the “unseen illness” of post-traumatic stress in returning servicemen is delicately woven into the fabric of this story.
Just who is Mrs Dalloway though? That is a question even “Dalloway” does not really know but here, with a story arc viewed from her own viewpoint, we get some answers to that from her inner self and those around her who represent not only different viewpoints of her in the present, but also a slightly different person in her past. With a skill that has to be seen to fully understand, Rebecca Vaughan brings to life not only Dalloway herself but every other character, male and female, in this story, and it is all done with nothing more than performance skills and an absolute minimum of a few stage props. This is “performance magic” on stage as without any change of costume Rebecca slips effortlessly with nothing more than voice, body language and mannerisms into all of our characters, and does it all so convincingly that we all believe that they are there on stage with us.
The only support that Rebecca really has is some very subtle lighting changes and a very limited amount of audio back up for sound effects. What gives Rebecca the very solid world that we all imagine to be there on stage is the very skilful writing of Elton Townend Jones and his ability to create just the right amount of descriptive background and dialogue to create a wonderful world of illusion in our minds, a world that is then like magic brought to life on stage by Rebecca’s impeccable performance and attention to character voices, mannerisms and detailing.
There is with Dalloway that feeling at the end of the show that you are leaving some long gone world and the reality of re-entering the 21st century outside is a strange experience for the first few moments.
Aug 2-4, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26
1 hour 30 minutes
Country: United Kingdom - England
Group: Dyad Productions
Review by Tom King