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EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: TYPICAL, Pleasance Courtyard

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: TYPICAL, Pleasance CourtyardEDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: TYPICAL, Pleasance Courtyard

Ryan Calais Cameron's new play, Typical, is a monologue depicting an unthinkable, but depressingly fathomable, true story.

In 1998, computer programmer and former army paratrooper Christopher Alder was the victim of an assault on a night out. He was removed from the hospital where he was seeking help by police to prevent a 'breach of peace'.

Christopher later died on the floor of Kingston-Upon-Hull Police Station, beaten to a pulp with his trousers pulled down to his knees. The officers had left him there, asserting that he was faking being unconscious.

Cameron's play traces the story of an ex-serviceman (played by Richard Blackwood), who we at no point are told is Alder, getting ready for a night out. The show gently unearths the many facets of the protagonist's personality. He's insecure, he's lonely, he's trying to stay optimistic when faced with racial tension again. He's a person going about his life. He's charming, funny, and he wants to get laid. He's bored. He wants to let his hair down.

He wants a 'typical' night out.

Once you realise where the show is heading, the narrative takes a nose-dive into a tale so anger-inducing and tragic that it will sit heavily on your shoulders when you leave the theatre. And so it should.

Blackwood extracts every ounce of humanity out of Cameron's script and he's a generous, exceptional actor. However, the show's greatest asset, aside from a being a tale that feels vital to bring to life, is a poeticism which is noticeably stronger towards the beginning of the show.

Typical, though, is clever and nuanced storytelling: distressing to the core. Cameron's new piece is a lyrical monologue. It has the makings of a harrowing tour-de-force.

Typical is at Pleasance Courtyard until 25 August


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