The Merlin Pub in Morningside probably isn’t one of the places you would automatically think of as a Fringe venue being about a half-hour bus ride during the festival from all the main venues. However, it hosts a wealth of talent as part of the free Fringe collective and is one to look out for in 2023.
Dreamphone has been based on the true story of Magdalen Laundries’ church scandal and corruption. Where two young Irish girls Aisling and Saoirse are desperate to leave Ireland for a new life of promised excitement. However, the pair are cruely exploited by their local priest, Father Malcolm who promises them a fantastic new life working for a glossy magazine!
Once they arrive all the promises turn out to be horrendous lies and they are subjected to appalling cramped living conditions, long days and no pay. Both of them soon learn not to trust anyone, not even each other as they cannot be sure who is listening to their conversations.
I liked the company’s use of a laptop to project images onto the wall behind the cast in the venue depicting the church, the family home and other outside images. Although it could have benefited from being projected to one side of the cast. As all the action was taking place in front of the images and it wasn’t clear what you were being shown.
Storyline wise it’s potentially a very hard-hitting storyline with some editing and with a smaller venue suitable for the intimacy this production requires it could be a powerful piece.