"20 Minutes of Action" Review - Edinburgh University Theatre Company

The EUTC Presents: 20 Minutes of Action
Photo credit: Andrew Perry

“20 Minutes of Action” is nothing short of a depressing masterpiece. Very closely based on true events which need to remain nameless for legal reasons, the result of this inspiration combined with Pollyanna Esse’s expert script writing and direction makes for 50 minutes that go as quickly as 5, of some of the most intense subject matter I’ve ever seen on a stage.

“20 Minutes” got off to a shaky start with a video that was mostly obstructed by cast members standing in the way of the screen, but my fears were quickly put to bed as soon as the live acting started.

The tone of the play is quickly set, aided by the effective use of music, set almost exclusively to solo piano, a very appropriate instrument for the tone that was aimed for.

Aimee Vincent as the victim, and Benji Sumrie as the perpetrator were unbelievably convincing. The hatred between them was stunning and the genuine ignorance of the perpetrator created a perfect contrast to the fragility of Vincent’s victim.

One aspect of the show that stuck out to me as excellent was the attitude of the perpetrator's parents to the situation. Chillingly portrayed by Sophie Roadnight and Sam Kinch, it goes to show the extent that parents will go to, to convince themselves that their children are innocent.

Ellie Forrest as the victim’s sister was simply heartbreaking. To paraphrase a quote from the show, when the sister of the victim feels more guilt than the attacker, then something is seriously wrong, and Forrest brought this across so strongly.

Shannon Yuen as the interviewer was a brief yet effective commentary on the way the media treats emotions, and her reckless and shameful attitude to interviewing a rape victim created such an effective contrast.

All actors displayed extremely convincing American accents, and in general were of the highest standard Edinburgh has to offer.

The scene at the end of the play served as a particularly sad note to end the play on. Our characters transformed into new, nameless characters, delivering short accounts of personal rape stories in the actors’ native accents.

Overall, “20 Minutes” is a brilliantly crafted piece of theatre. The fact it only has 2 performances is criminal, and I hope this play goes on to be performed in the future.

Verdict: ★★★★½

“20 Minutes of Action” runs until 3rd October at Bedlam Theatre.



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