Review by Carly Fisher
To say that the audience walk into Edges at the Assembly Rooms with high expectations would be an understatement. Produced by The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and clearly advertising the fact that the contemporary song-cycle is from the creators of The Greatest Showman, La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen, there’s no avoiding these expectations.
The problem with that is that sometimes expectations can be hard to meet.
Edges was performed on alternate days throughout the festival with Big Fish also from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Though a great idea, in execution, by the end of the festival (when I saw Edges) of performing two shows in rep, the cast seemed to be getting really tired and the energy seemed somewhat forced. More problematic to the overall quality of the show is that many of the top notes were just not there for the performers…likely attributed to the fringe flu that everyone seems to have but, all the same, I was surprised by the overall quality of the show as such.
In the original Edges, the cast is mixed gender. In this production, all four in the cast are female presenting. To be honest, I think that this change worked beautifully, with some of the lyrics sounding as though they were deliberately written for this choice. Unfortunately, whilst the choice started bold, the execution of it seemed to be the same as though they had performed the show as it is usually presented, with no blocking or character development encouraged to really complete this narrative.
Taylor Frisina is the definite stand out in the show. Vocally strong and with excellent characterisation, her solo ‘Girl with Dreams,’ in my opinion, was the strongest song in the show and I felt completely transported to her world as she sang her way through it. Frisina seemed to have the deepest understanding of the character that she was portraying and in that, was by far the most intriguing to watch throughout.
Claire Rob too gave really strong and emotive moments throughout. Rob seemed to have the greatest vocal range on stage and definitely comes across the dancer in the group…and if that is not the case, then she certainly commits the most facially to make her look like the expert in the group. Rob’s performance was also great.
The set of two flats, a couch area and a lot of plants felt very minimal in such a large space but with it being fringe, a lot of allowances can be made.
Generally the unity of the ensemble of four was in perfect check. Occasionally some missed notes compromised otherwise rich harmonies but by and large, the group worked well together and had some really nice moments of chemistry.
I really liked and respected the move to this being an all female team but because it wasn't carried through in execution, overall I thought that the story was compromised to the point of being somewhat hard to follow.
All in all, a talented cast and a good song cycle show but the stamina just has not yet been developed by the Company to keep the fringe energy up high enough to wrap up the 2023 season.