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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012 - Theatre Reviews 4

Theatre Uncut – Traverse – 4 stars

One Hour Only – Underbelly – 3 stars

XXXO – Pleasance Courtyard – 3 stars

Theatre Uncut was a wonderful idea that brought together living 
playwrights to pen short, off-the-cuff miniatures responding to the 
world's ongoing economic collapse. Performances of these were 
co-ordinated worldwide to produce a global day of theatrical action. 
The idea took root, and this year the Traverse are presenting three 
programmes of bite-size works taking place each Monday morning in the 
theatre bar.

This first one opens with In The Beginning, a pithy dialogue between a 
young advocate of the Occupy movement and his disappointed dad. If the 
title at first suggests the biblical roots of protest, the exchange 
that follows reveals one more rich kid slumming it as much of the 
original hippy movement did. Lena Kitsopolou's The Price finds a 
consumer friendly couple finding the ultimate supermarket bargain in 
the shape of a cut-price dead baby. The Break Out by Anders Lustgarten 
sees two incarcerated  women taking advantage of the lack of  prison 
walls due to budgetary restraints.

Hottest off the press is London 2012:Glasgow, Kieran Hurley's hilarious 
dissection of the Olympic games' Hampden Park Korean flag fiasco via 
two nonsense-spouting PRs  worthy of Olympic sit-com 2012 itself. As 
the pair attempt to pass the buck and wriggle out of any responsibility 
for the diplomatic faux-pas, Hurley's piece speaks volumes about the 
international blame game when capitalist pursuits mess-up. Performed 
script-in-hand after just an hour's rehearsal by the likes of Phil 
Jupitus, Iain Robertson and Jimmy Chisholm, Theatre Uncut is the 
epitome of recession-culture turned good. Two even fresher Theatre 
Uncut programmes take place on August 13th and August 20th.

The prostitute forming a bond with her client in a let's talk scenario 
is hardly a new one. In One Hour Only, which forms part of the 
Underbelly's Old Vic New Voices strand, however, writer Sabrina Mahfouz 
brings it bang up to date in a multi-cultural London, where Forensic 
Biology student turned high-class hooker Marley prepares to meet her 
first client. As it turns out, as he celebrates his twenty-first 
birthday, it's would-be civil engineer AJ's first time as well.

During their allotted time together, Marley and AJ both let down their 
guards and have a brief encounter that has nothing to do with sex. If 
it starts off a tad too Belle de Jour, soon they're like a pair of kids 
hanging out in their bed-room, smoking spliffs, inflicting their music 
on each other and basically finding out who the hell they are. While in 
other circumstances they might become a couple, the responsibilities of 
the grown-up world will force them apart.

Mahfouz never judges in Matt Wilde's production, in which Nadia 
Clifford's Marley is as street-smart as Faraz Ayub's AJ is studiously 
naïve. As the pair part once AJ's hour is up, you can't help but wonder 
what might have been in a sassy and at times tender peek into an 
off-limits world. Until August 26th.

It's been fascinating watching Belgian company Ontroerend Goed this 
year. While not a full production by them in the way that All That Is 
Wrong is at the Traverse, XXXO is supported by the company. The latter 
show's two performers too are graduates of Once and for all we're gonna 
tell you who we are so shut up and listen, which announced the then 
teenagers precocious arrival in a riot of mess and noise.

In XXXO, Nathalie Marie Verbeke and Charlotte De Bruyne, both now in 
their early twenties, sit side by side with laptops and explore what 
makes them cry. They repeat the lines from Bambi and Titanic as those 
films most overwrought scenes are projected onto screens behind them. 
They act out scripts from Sex and the City and Home and Away, and watch 
YouTube footage of lame dogs and 9/11 phone calls. Sometimes its just 
simpler to rub chopped onions across their eyes. Anything to make them 

As with the young people in All That Is Wrong, this is the Once and for 
all generation coming of age and doing their growing up in public. 
While not without humour as Verbeke and De Bruyne tap into the 
ridiculousness of their contrivances to share the pain of others, the 
fifty-minute exercise is also an honest account of the pair's 
friendship that goes beyond child's play to somewhere that's very much 
for real. Until August 26th.

The Herald, August 8th 2012



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