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The debut play of the young and enthusiastic Sell a Door Theatre Company is an intriguing mix of dance, melodrama, soap opera and harsh political commentary, with enough symbolism and masked dance routines to both repel those with less theatrical tastes, and appeal to others who find such things a source of guilty pleasure.
Opening with a frighteningly choreographed dance scene, the hour-long performance strives to present a fair and uninhibited perspective of the difficulties faced within a modern Scottish prison, for inmates on both sides of the bars whose secrets reveal much about their personalities. The confrontations and relationships forced upon prisoners and prison workers alike are explored in a very personal manner through the four characters, and the play is often uncomfortable without being gratuitous.
This emphasis on realism makes it easier to sympathise with the characters' plights, however reliable David Hutchinson's script may be as someone viewing the situation from an outside perspective, and as a narrative spread over numerous months of the protagonist's incarceration, it's permissible that the highlighted events play out something like a soap opera. A few unlikely events shatter the realism somewhat, but the frequent use of heavy-handed metaphors, both verbal and visual, emphasise that this play is concerned with its message over its demonstrative plot.
'The Secrets Inside' played for one week only at the Edinburgh Fringe, and despite its destiny as another undiscovered gem struggling to attract an audience at the increasingly commercial festival, its ambitious scope has been recognised through nomination for Amnesty's Freedom of Expression award.
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