David Leddy, On The Edge

Review in Issue 14-2 | Summer 2002

David Leddy’s On The Edge is pretty hard to pin down. After its premiere last November, I found some people saying that it is a complex, thought provoking piece of satire and that Leddy is one of the most energetic and exciting artists working in British theatre today. Others wrote the show off as being simply a series of comic vignettes, a chance for Leddy to show off his (admittedly formidable) stage persona and vocal dexterity.

When the show was invited back for a second outing before the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe, I had the chance to decide for myself and discovered that On The Edge is indeed two shows at the same time. Essentially, the piece is an entertaining pastiche of the murder-mystery genre. Beneath this comic strip facade, though, is a fantastically postmodern exploration of how the other is treated in cultural texts. References and research that range between Macbeth and Victorian criminology, Hitchcock and Baudrillard’s hyper-reality, are intelligently fleshed out during the show.

In criticism, one could say that Leddy’s focus on pastiche and clever postmodernism leaves narrative by the wayside. His notion of seven locked rooms, each containing a suspect, is a delicious reference to Bartok’s ‘Duke Bluebeard’ but left me counting down the suspects and finding the structure too predictable. Still we can’t have everything. Generally, On The Edge intelligently combines the intellectual concerns of live art with the showmanship and humour of more accessible theatre.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-2
p. 26