REVIEW: Crossing the Void, koi collective & Sally MacAlister, EdFringe 2022 ★★★★☆

REVIEW: Crossing the Void, koi collective & Sally MacAlister, EdFringe 2022 ★★★★☆

Content Warning: Suicide

Crossing the Void is a fresh take on the teens-get-a-Ouija-board genre. A new script from Sally MacAlister blends social issues, queerness and sisterhood (both familial and friendship-wise) into a supernatural tale which weaves the stories of five young women on diverging paths back to the death of their former housemate Hannah. It’s a character piece, focused on the relationships between the girls and exploring the power dynamics of friendship groups through a paranormal lens.

Hannah took her own life after a spiral of tragic events which all of the girls are not quite clear on. They gather back at the flat one year on to hold a séance, drawn together by the mysterious Lorna who dabbles in the dark arts. Lorna’s character is a fun play on the rising return of witchcraft among younger women. Contrastingly, Hannah’s sister Josie can’t quite resolve her sister’s death. Friend Abby finds the whole thing weird and would prefer the girls just had mimosas together, while Charlie seems to hold a peculiar secret which is yet to be unveiled. The social glue holding them all together is the enigmatic Finn, drug dealer supreme (but only on the sly), and above all bon vivant.

Lorna is desperate to bring out the Ouija board, barely even touching a drink, while the rest of the girls are there to loosen up, get drunk, and try and remember together. There are immediate seeds of disharmony however, as a clear clique has emerged. The sense of cliques and exclusion is a repeated theme throughout – koi collective choose to focus on themes of isolation, separation and secrets throughout and it makes for a mighty successful mystery to the plot as we watch it all unfurl. It isn’t long before the girls make contact, and maybe begin to wish they could put what they’ve unleashed back into the Amazon Prime box from whence it came.

The performances here really are an absolute class act. Especially pertinent is the performance by Amelia Fleur Yayici as Finn – she is a vibrant, wholly three-dimensional character who clearly knows her own self worth. Besides being rib-ticklingly funny, she appears real and grounded. Zoe Isobel Kinniburgh’s Josie also delivers all the right doses of intrigue, revealing nothing yet remaining poised and uptight. Both of the characters are exceptionally well-developed and the piece flourishes because of their interactions with the other women.

It does feel a little as though some of the characters slip into the background, despite having well fleshed-out backstories. The character of Charlie seems to have a lot to her, but we don’t quite get enough connection with her as an audience – she feels distant and removed and not in a narrative sense. Abby is also well-performed as the living-on-Daddy’s-credit-card caricature, but lacks depth beyond her repeated distrust in the paranormal.

The phenomenal performance at the heart of the piece, however, is Zara Louise Kennedy as Lorna. Your eyes are drawn towards her the entire way through, as she twitches and tweaks when the girls critique her crystals and tarot cards. She has such a believable personality that you, as an audience member, fall right under her quirky, underdog charm. Kennedy has managed to avoid the trope of the mysterious character lacking external depth, as it is clear both internally and externally how she values herself and the world.

Performances aside, MacAlister’s script is absolutely polished. It reminded me greatly of the Revenge genre of movies without the blood and gore – instead just a deeply captivating mystery at its heart which ebbs and flows with the tide of revelation and deceit. It is a truly excellent piece of drama, matched with a sense of comedic current that keeps everything in tow. The piece is matched with multimedia footage which adds bits and pieces to the story. I can’t help but feel it could have been better utilised to emphasise the clique-ness of some of the characters, which it was clearly trying to do. Technically however, it’s an enjoyable element of the production.

Crossing the Void is a spooky, sideways glance down the looking glass of dysfunctional relationships, friendship circles tearing themselves apart and what happens when we move on from grief in our lives. It holds you throughout with a genuine sense of anticipation, and cuts deep into the fabric of the human relationship without ever taking itself so seriously that you disconnect. A silent killer – Crossing the Void is dark, light, and everything in between.

Recommended Drink: Get what you deserve – join Finn with Buckfast and a bag of Monster Munch.

Catch Crossing the Void before it dissipates into the abyss at TheSpace on the Mile – Space 3, at 15:35 on August 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 24th and finally on the 26th – look, even ghosts need a day off to recover in between each show. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.

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