Edinburgh Festival: Missing (3 stars)

One person goes missing every two minutes, we learn from this mix of verbatim and physical theatre. Most people are found, but for the family members of those who aren’t it is the start of a nightmare many of them never get over.

Winners of the Scottish Daily Mail Festival Fringe Award, Engineer Theatre Collective shine a light on the stories of children and adults who have disappeared that are less well known than that of say, Madeleine McCann, but whose vanishing has, of course, caused equal suffering to their loved ones.

Through an interview with an investigating officer, we gain an insight into police procedures. For instance, we learn that most dead bodies are rarely found more than a few feet away from a road as it is difficult for the killer to carry them any further.

We also hear the son of a paedophile describe how his father killed a girl and that the girl’s mother continued to buy her daughter a present every year of her birthday until she, herself, died.

It’s heart-wrenching stuff, but the decision to intersperse the words with visual movement has mixed results, at times feeling more of a distraction than an aid.

The cast give earnest performances but some could do more to really embody the people they’re playing, rather than simply letting the moving words and subject matter do the work.

Written for The Scotsman

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