‘9 Circles’ at the Edinburgh Fringe review – The trying tribulations of a convicted war criminal


9 Circles is a character study in need of more time, which feels weird given its framing around Dante’s Inferno and the nine levels of Hell. Ultimately, however, its commentary on the role of soldiers and war is buried just as deep.

It follows the case of Texas soldier Daniel Reeves (acted with astonishing and unpredictable emotion from Joshua Collins) as he stands accused of raping and murdering a young girl in Iraq. The nine circles pertain to the nine moments or encounters instrumental in his judgment over the alleged crime. Each transition is gorgeously lit in the circular set and lighting from Duncan Henderson and Tom Turner respectively.

Cramming nine circles into a 65-minute running time means there isn’t much time to make cutting political points beyond war being bad, Iraq being a mistake and the US military doing a pretty terrible job of looking after the mental health of its soldiers. If those are its answer to the question of how Reeves descended to such a level of depravity, then it’s hardly original.

While Reeves would protest against spending any longer in his hellish predicament, 9 Circles is in desperate need of more time in order to offer up a more substantial argument beyond what we already know. We’ve spent some time with Daniel in nine levels, we don’t need to go round and round in circles on a subject as deep and heavy as international conflicts.

9 Circles is now playing at the Assembly George Square Studios, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2022, until 29 August.

Production Images: Mark Douet.

Disclaimer: I was invited to watch ‘9 Circles’ for free in exchange for a review of the performance as a member of the press. I did not receive payment for the above article and all opinions stated are honest and my own.

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