Cancer Time

Good For Your Health


14.30-15.25, Venue 13

Cancer Time is a special piece of theatre. The title gives little suggestion of the nature of the show, essentially a character study of two young women in a Welsh call centre who form a very unlikely friendship over their cigarette breaks. Iola (Alex Bull) is in fact the only one who smokes, finding it comforting that her habit will guarantee her a death by cancer, her fidgeting and jabbering clearly requiring soothing in some form. Her newfound friend is Mared (Emily Rees), whose less than positive outlook on life provides a welcome antidote to Iola’s incessant babbling.

Everything from set to lighting and costumes to props is pared down to the bare minimum, the set a mirror image consisting of office chairs and identical glittery boxes. These are opened as the play progresses and are shown to contain the fate of the characters within. This minimalism serves to highlight the exceedingly high quality of acting from the two women. The characters are so carefully developed and sharply delineated from each other that the audience begins to feel comfortable as with old friends and can anticipate the way in which each will react. Stories are told that are easy to relate to and the play bumbles along happily until a tragedy besets one of the girls and the plot turns rather more serious and sinister.

The latter scenes are heart rendering and touching, the sheer pain of Mared evident, and the discomfort of Iola in trying to be the ‘friend’ that she has slowly developed into clearly causing strain. The comedic moments decrease rapidly but the audience, though small in this case, were completely captivated until the closing moments.

A wonderfully constructed and well executed piece of theatre. A wee walk down the Royal Mile away from the Fringe hub but well worth the visit.


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