EdFringe 2022 Review: The Beast Will Rise


The work of playwright, novelist and filmmaker Philip Ridley is celebrated in The Beast Will Rise which runs at theSpaceUK’s Edinburgh Fringe hub at Surgeon’s Hall. With actress Lily Maryon delivering four separate monologues, Puzzle, Zarabooshka, Rosewater and Gators, directed by Chris Loveless, we are taken on bizarre journeys where fragmented characters introduce us to a world lingering with menace and unease.

Stepping out on a sparsely decorated stage, Maryon’s first piece is Puzzle where the actress sits on a small wooden box and discuss the troubles that have been affecting her home town and country. Discussing the wave of death and bloodshed she and her community have witnessed – she shares that one of the women in her local community has been to eighteen funerals in one week. It’s a short, powerful monologue with Maryon managing to convey a haunting emotion in this short segment, presumably linked to the Irish troubles.

Like all the pieces in The Beast Will Rise, Ridley gradually reveals more about the troubling secrets and experiences that plague its characters such as Maryon’s protagonist in second monologue Zarabooshka. Initially the character draws us into her luxurious house in the prestigious area of Zarabooshka sharing her dreams of white picket fences and an immaculate emerald-eyed Persian cat before troubling undercurrents begin to seep through. References to sex trafficking, men paying for women’s services, and physical abuse are littered in between the protagonist’s musings about her elegant pad, although Maryon captures her fraying emotional state paired with her desire to push the horrors to the back of her mind.

Rosewater follows, centring on a young girl walking home in a rainstorm from choir practice, yet the memory of a scarring incident from her recent past is triggered. Maryon captures a youthful naivety in Rosewater’s protagonist – a young girl who is somewhat bright and breezy despite a traumatising tragedy taking hold in her life. Maryon showcases an impressive characterisation as she delves between the role of the protagonist and choir instructor with a distinctive change in energy and performance style.

Final monologue Gators is perhaps the most bizarre. Initially thought to be the insane or drunken rumblings of the solitary, isolated protagonist, it appears that she lives in a world where alligators become ‘sweet on’ people, seductively luring them to their inevitable death. Ridley’s work has underlying commentary about humans’ abuse of the environment here, with the idea of gators settling the score showcased in this piece. Maryon also explores her character’s underlying want and desire for love and affection, captured in her character’s bawdy allure towards the gators. It’s all brilliantly bizarre.

Maryon’s transitions between monologues and characters are brilliant smooth, immediately transporting us into a new world with a simple change of outfit, body language or accent. She manages to convey the humanity in each character, regardless of the extremity or strangeness of the context which births them.

The Beast Will Rise plays at theSpaceUK’s Surgeon’s Hall until August 13th. Get tickets here.

Lead photo: Ruth Harvey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *