The Waltz of the Cold Wind is a clever short play that combines an unpredictable plot with an absorbing soundscape. It manages to pack more intrigue and character development in its 50-minute running time than a lot of full-length pieces I’ve recently seen.
The plot follows Belle, an aspiring sound designer whose interest in noise and voices leads her to eavesdrop on her neighbours. This action leads Belle on a journey riddled with obsession and self-discovery, and it is commented on by FG, a theatrical embodiment of Belle’s subconscious who acts as both narrator and Greek-chorus.
Actress Candida Benson plays Belle as a naïve young woman. She manages to balance a comedic sense of wonder with demanding rants, being both sympathetic and a bit unpredictable. Equally good is Juliet Cadzow, who plays the mysterious FG. Narrators are usually a sign of weak writing, but here Cadzow is an active participant and has some of the best moments.
Paddy Cunneen is both writer and director. As a writer, he has managed to create a clever story with some effective dialogue. The script isn’t completely original, but Cunneen’s direction and clever use of sound make the production feel different enough to avoid comparison to other ‘obsessive’ stories. He also manages to create characters one genuinely cares about.
The Waltz of the Cold Wind may not be the most original piece of theatre to grace a Scottish stage, but it is one of the most enjoyable with some very good performances, a solid script and effective direction.
On another note, Oran Mor soon starts a partnership with the Traverse, which this piece is not a part of. It’s a real shame that this isn’t going to transfer to Edinburgh as it’s a very good production that should have a longer life.
*Run completed at Oran Mor