Tom Fleming Centre, Stewart's Melville College, Edinburgh
There's something joyful about this double bill of Moliere comic miniatures, adapted here for Lung Ha's Theatre Company in typically scurrilous fashion by Morna Pearson. This may have something to do with MJ McCarthy and Kim Moore's jaunty accordion-led soundtrack that plays as the audience enter, or it may be the bustle of the cast who welcome them into designer Karen Tennant's beautifully draped world. Either way, there's a sense of period-costumed liberation at play, both in the first piece, The Seductive Countess, and in it's follow-up, The Flying Doctor.
The Seductive Countess finds the protege of a vain and selfish lady persuading her Viscount true love to see off her suitors, while The Flying Doctor has a pair of bumbling servants role-play a couple of quacks in order to prevent an unseemly marriage. Pared down to just seventy-five minutes overall, Maria Oller's production allows Lung Ha's regular large ensemble cast to have fun with Pearson's material with some surprisingly deft interplay in both pieces. Teri Robb as Julie in the first play gives a particularly deadpan turn, while there is much fun to be had with the healing powers of urine samples in The Flying Doctor, as the below stairs double act knock it back like fine wine.
While the ornate surroundings of Stewart's Melville adds to the overall atmosphere of the show, it's a puzzle why it isn't being seen in a regular theatre. Now more than ever, companies such as Lung Ha's need to be seen in the mainstream rather than appearing to have been sidelined in this way.
The Herald, April 12th 2013