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Kidnapped


Eastgate Theatre, Peebles
3 stars
Robert Louis Stevenson probably wasn’t the first to rewrite Scottish 
history as a Boy’s Own style adventure, and he certainly wasn’t the 
last. On the one hand, Kidnapped’s eighteenth century orphan Davie 
Balfour’s on the run rites of passage over land and sea en route to 
reclaiming his stolen birthright is a heroic yarn of discovery and 
derring-do. On the other, it’s a state of the nation dot-to-dot through 
history that throws Davie together with real-life figures in the 
ferment of some of the most crucial moments that followed the Jacobite 
Rising.

Cumbernauld Theatre’s Ed Robson takes advantage of this in his 
pocket-sized three-person touring production which utilises live and 
recorded back-projections, puppets and story-telling techniques in a 
quick-fire romp through the landscape.

If the TV news report is an idea pioneered in Peter Watkins’ seminal 
film, Culloden, the projections of puppet gladiators on the battlefield 
looks straight off YouTube. Some of the more scenic projections that 
accompany Scott Hoatson’s Davie galloping through the glens with Peter 
Callaghan’s Alan Breck Stewart to Bal Cooke’s rollicking score, 
meanwhile, look like airbrushed offcuts from a Visit Scotland ad in 
what at times looks something akin to the sort of TV drama that marks a 
political epoch with a telly blaring out real-life news footage at the 
edge of the human narrative centre-stage.

With Alan Steele doubling up as assorted wicked uncles, sea Captains 
and redcoats, beyond al this, Cumbernauld’s Kidnapped cuts to the heart 
of what matters to both accidental wanderers in very different ways. 
While Davie is learning to be a man, like his comrade and adversary, 
exile has taught him to believe in something  beyond home.

The Herald, April 20th 2012

ends

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