Review: Salmon @ Assembly Rooms: Powder Room

Angus lives in the Scottish countryside; he is stuck in the middle of no-where with a lack of prospects and a longing for more. Living in his parents home, on week days he is stifled and restless and on the weekends he goes to raves to momentarily lose his mind. The play takes place mostly in his beer-stained bedroom which is littered with cans and congested much like the thoughts in his head.

With a cast of five, ‘Salmon’ blends spoken word, naturalism, surrealism and music to explore youth culture in a pocket of the world where the only industries available to them are fishing, shopkeeping and the police force. Angus is a fish stuck in toxic waters. The beautifully crafted script flits between naturalism and melodic spoken word and the casts soothing accents complement and add watercolour imagery to their words. Angus is angry and conflicted and represents many young adults in turmoil. Avoiding any preachy-ness, the play explores the tensions and mental health issues that ‘recreational’ drug-use can lead to. With a recently reported increase in drug deaths in Scotland, the darkness of the subject matter and truthful acting make a powerful impact.

Lighter moments glimmer throughout the play and slices of surrealism are interjected. The once partygoer turned pig-like policeman character is incredibly well-acted and written. There are moments where the spoken word and overlapping of lines don’t feel quite earned but overall, ‘Salmon’ excels in its ambitious playwriting and subject matter with a versatile and sensitive cast.

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