Theatre Review: Six Characters in Search of an Author, Royal Lyceum Theatre, 15 February – 8 March

16 Feb


First staged in 1921, Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author arrives in Edinburgh with a bang. Literally.

While rehearsing a new play with his cast, a director is interrupted by six strangers who claim to be characters from a novel abandoned by its author. Soon “real” actors and “imaginary” characters are working together to bring a tragic tale to life that needs to be told.

A large cast (that’s the real cast, not the cast of the play within the play) is led by Ron Donachie, (most recently seen in the Lyceum’s 2007 play, Living Quarters) who drives the story forward with intensity. Donachie’s character has more than just a wish to tell his tale to whoever will listen: it’s his reason for “living”.

Ruminations on the nature of existence are a throughline of the play, with cleverly structured arguments on what makes us human regularly punctuating a series of emotionally charged scenes.

The interaction of the actors with each other, and their surroundings, has to be seen to be appreciated, while the use of scenery and props combined with a lack of special effects actually enhance the story.

Director Mark Thomson does well to keep a complicated story flowing, while a stunningly simple design decision in the closing moments blurs the line between the realities discussed in the play even further.


Review by Jonathan Melville 

Go to venue website

Event: Six Characters in Search of an Author
Venue: Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street, Edinburgh
Date/Time: Evenings: Tuesday – Saturday 7.45pm; Matinees: 20, 23 & 27 February and 1 & 8 March at 2.30pm

Read the interview with Ron Donachie.

Read the preview of Six Characters in Search of an Author.

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