Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 3-Sat 5 April 2008
It’s amazing what you can get for £27.64 and half a dozen packed lunches these days. In the case of the down on their luck McScott clan, the heroes of Lung Ha’s latest theatrical fantasia, it takes them all the way to The Land of Beautiful Things. Not, however, without incident, from their initial attempts to borrow cash from Mr and Mrs Big Fish’s money-making machine onwards. Even that, however, turns out to be fake, as does the tropical paradise the McScotts aspire to. En route to such shiny, happy excess via a line-dancing hoe-down, our luckless clan are accosted by a dodgy sea captain, before finally landing somewhere warm with all the best things money can’t buy.
It’s often hard to judge Lung Ha’s, because here more than any other theatre company, it’s the taking part that counts. With some 40 people going hell for leather during this hour long extravaganza, that’s certainly the case here. Under director Clark Crystal’s loose guidance, though, the company has veered off into more magical realist waters of late, something which Alan Wilkins’ dramaturgy takes full advantage of.
So while strokes are kept necessarily broad, a skewed surrealism ensues, whereby behavioural tics are pared down to their bare bones and delivered with a cartoon flourish. A collaboration with Drake Music Scotland, who share similar aims and ambitions to Lung Ha’s, its Matilda Brown’s brash, jazzy score, played by a large live band that carries the show. So if the overload of action threatens to collapse in on itself in a gigantic heap, another number breezes in to save the day.
The Herald - Fri 4 April 2008