Words: Alex Grunberg
The audience enters to gentle guitar strumming on an airy stage that will soon be filled with the talented cast and beautiful music of Without. The story follows a runaway girl and a busking former music teacher who meet on the street and reckon with the mistakes of their pasts and the possibilities of their futures. Memories are brought to life in musical flashbacks and fluid choreography with precision and professionalism.
The show is a lovely intimate tale of unexpected connection, but it is the music of Without that elevates it to something special. The upbeat numbers are fun, and I found myself tapping along in the audience, but the score really shines in the emotional pieces that are stylistically reminiscent of similarly quiet, personal musicals like ‘Once.’ I was very happy to see an earlier version of the soundtrack on Spotify already, but it is no substitution for the fantastic performances on the Fringe stage.
While the whole ensemble, and musicians, bring passion and heart to their performances, Marianne Steggall and Darragh Chaplin are standouts as the two leads. They perform with high emotion as well as refreshing honesty, and fully embody their characters with great acting and powerful vocals.
Underbelly Cowgate, Big Belly