Two main characters, two foley artists, a table and a lot of props (as expected). This is a story about a failing relationship and a last-ditch attempt to spice it up with the time travel holiday of a lifetime. Suspicious Minds has a surrealist believability to it, the kind that comes from a well-crafted fictional story told convincingly by a strong group of narrators. But it’s the sound effects that elevate this story to something worth listening to.

Fran (Zoë Lambrakis) and Mark (Tom Wright) squabble with short, sharp, factual statements. Suspicious Minds is as much about the perspective from both sides of the relationship as it about the adventures they get up to. Mark is consistently restrained, constantly pacified and emotionless – Fran has played away, but Mark’s lack of reaction is worse than the expected tantrum. Up until the end, Suspicious Minds is distinctly lacking in emotion, just like the failing romance that the couple deftly dance around.

Tom Fowler’s story is simply the outline of this production – it’s the foley that adds the necessary colouring. The holiday provides an interesting plot development but is ultimately a bit over the top – the concept of a time travel break to ancient Rome, Victorian England and the sinking Titanic adds energy to the narrative, but is too drawn out to be truly impactful. It does however introduce the highly entertaining tones of time travelling agent Simon (Andrew Turner), who in many ways steals the scenes with a passive aggressive resentment of his work and the clients he serves.

We take a trip through the time of Mark and Fran’s relationship too, a desperate attempt for Mark to pinpoint where it went wrong. Suddenly his disconnected attitude is validated by personal past issues, all of which careen towards a predictable conclusion – the separated lovers rekindle the flame that had lost since been extinguished. It’s twee and it’s pleasant, but Suspicious Minds lacks the innovation to transform it into an unmissable production. Foley adds a clever artistic device and is the point of much comedy but is the filling to a fairly predictable, slightly sweet Madeira sponge. It’s done well, but it’s never going to be a stand-out choice.

 

★★★☆☆

Suspicious Minds plays Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 28 August 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.