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Festival Review: Meet Me at Dawn ****

Michael Cox reviews 'an excellent production that is sometimes thrilling but always moving'.

Robyn and Helen wash up on a shore after a boating accident. They are shocked and filled with uncertainty but happy to be alive—and with each other. They start trying to suss out how to get back to safety—but then things start to seem a bit off.

Zinnie Harris’ new play Meet Me at Dawn could have easily been an episode from The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror. It takes two very likeable characters and sticks them in uncertainty. Is one of them concussed, or is the other being a little paranoid? Where are they, and who is the odd woman they try communicating with?

One of the delights in watching Harris’ play unfold is in trying to work out what exactly is happening: is this social drama, a look at the crumbling of a relationship or might there be supernatural forces at play—or are imaginations just running wild? The ending is satisfying, even if it doesn’t spoon-feed the audience a full answer.

And both actors are terrific. Sharon Duncan-Brewster’s Helen and Neve McIntosh’s Robyn are easy to root for, both individually and as a couple. They are believable in everything they do and how they relate with each other, which makes for a compelling production. Add to that terrific design and subtle but effective direction by Orla O’Loughlin and the result is an excellent production that is sometimes thrilling but always moving.

Meet Me at Dawn performs at the Traverse Theatre until August 27 and is part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Check programme or website for performance times as they vary. No performances on Mondays.

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