The Letter Room’s No Miracles Here, presented as part of the Northern Stage Summerhall Collective, is a searing, gloriously original look at mental health. As set out at the start of the piece, everyone has their own ideas about depression, their own image they attach to the condition – a cloud, a big black dog (thank you Harry Potter), a blindfold etc etc. No Miracles Here centres around dance, depression as a dance, a dance marathon where our eponymous hero Ray who ‘keeps his charisma in a jar under his bed’ is determined to dance himself to death.
So often shows that centre around mental health have a sombre air. There is a sense of weight, ‘important’ things being discussed, a piece about ‘issues’. What was so wonderful about this show is that The Letter Room managed to bring a bizarre sense of fun to the table – chaotic, energetic, frenzied fun that managed to neither belittle nor overshadow its subject matter. While not exactly celebratory there is a sense of release that accompanies the constant movement, a relief of not being judged and not being questioned, not really having to do anything other than to keep moving.
As the title rather succinctly points out, there are no ‘solutions’, this isn’t a piece to solve all your troubles and then waft you out the door afterwards. All the cast members are phenomenally talented and exhaustingly energetic, dragging a rather slow 11am audience through loopholes and around corners, chasing us towards the gentle endpoint– that for now, at least, Ray lives to dance another day. They do not pretend that the situation is finished, resolved or in any way fixed. It is just still bearable.