‘The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash’ at the Fringe – “a piece that glows with a soft power”

Ela Portnoy falls in love with 'The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash' at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Photo: Katie Hale

I don’t often give five-star reviews.

It’s not that they are reserved for perfection – I don’t think theatre can really be perfect anyway. It’s more that there has to be a certain feeling; the feeling you get when you sit in the audience and just go: “yep”.

Perhaps I could be extremely cheesy and say that it’s like falling in love. But I think it’s quite apt. With love, as with good theatre, you have an inkling, not a conscious choice.

What I mean to say is, The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash is not perfect. The company is made of students, not professionals and perhaps sometimes they could take the emotion further, cry more, dance more, make a different directorial choice. But when you can catch the eye of the girl on stage and feel her pain, and know that she is broken, and just want the lump in your throat to go away – well then, that’s good theatre. It’s as simple as that.

The play shows snippets from the lives of three women living in London, who are connected through a man they all mutually know. The story walks across terrains of love, loss and loneliness – three well-trodden themes – in a quirky and dark score that reminds you of Rent, Sweeney Todd and something gritty that you can’t quite put your finger on.

I was told that an EP of the soundtrack is in the making, and I am very glad that it is. The score is quite simply magnificent. It tiptoes on styles; cabaret here, rock there, operatic yonder. And the mood of the music skips hand in hand with the show’s emotional progression. In one particular moment, in which Anna (Emilie Finch) goes crazy with grief, the music stops and only the sound of the drum remains, building in intensity simultaneously. In general, the use of the drum kit (played by the talented Chris Cottell) was imaginative and affecting. Drum solos were used to represent the London Underground, which added a loud and overwhelming sense of loneliness in a sleepless city. The cellist and pianist were fantastic as both jazz musicians and accompanists across the various musical styles. It is interesting how such a sparse and unexpected combination of instruments can create such innovative and fresh textures.

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But the pinnacle of the show is the performers. All three women are incredibly able singers, and the range of emotion conveyed is remarkable. Changes in different aspects of musical tone were nuanced and controlled consistently by all three actors, but I have to say that the standout performance was from Ellen Victoria Timothy as Julia. Her understanding of her character showed a depth of emotion that is uncommon for Fringe performances, and the quiet assuredness of her performance made her seem mature beyond her age. Amelia Gabriel and Emilie Finch’s characters were younger, so it was appropriate that Julia should be more mature. Finch gave a touching, innocent and at times heart-breaking performance as Anna, and Gabriel’s expression had a beautiful build up which culminated in a devastating climax.

The lighting and set design was gorgeous and the direction was impressive in such a small space.

The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash is a piece that glows with a soft power.