It’s rare indeed for a local play to blow the international competition out of the water in Edinburgh at festival time, but in 2019 that’s what Kieran Hurley’s sensational two-hander did.
Its premise seems simple: Libby, a middle-aged, middle-class playwright has not picked up a pen in years and, roundly rejected by London’s artistic establishment, spends her time brooding in the rarefied environs of Edinburgh’s New Town. Declan is a 17-year-old struggling with a volatile home life in a deprived Edinburgh housing estate, but in possession of a remarkable artistic talent.
When Libby’s despair drives her to a literal cliff edge, their lives collide.
But if you think you’ve heard this story of despair and the power of an unlikely friendship before, Mouthpiece is way, way ahead of you.
As their relationship strengthens and develops, Libby decides Declan’s story must be told. And sure, it doesn’t hurt that it also might reboot her career…
From its startling opening, through to its final devastating showdown, this audacious, gripping and self-questioning play invites us to probe where the lines should be drawn. It’s very funny, very moving and will have your head spinning with the knotty ethical issues it provokes long after you leave the theatre.
Winner of the 2019 Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, Mouthpiece is unmissable; destined to be a classic of our times.
The audience is tossed between sobs, belly laughs, and breathless, wide-eyed suspense... This is intelligent, investigative theatre at its most entertaining.
A play that wrestles fiercely and brilliantly with the dilemmas faced by serious artists in a bitterly divided society... This astonishing 90-minute two-handed drama powers to its riveting and challenging climax.
Heart-in-mouth moving, grimly exhilarating.
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Supported by British Council, Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.