Monday, 27 May 2013


Dundee Rep
4 stars
When Tom McGrath's play first appeared in 1986, its depiction of 
community spirit in a run-down Dundee housing scheme was a telling 
insight into life on the margins in Thatcher's Britain. A quarter of a 
century on, and  Nicholas Bone's revival of a story based on real 
Dundee residents reflects the current and all too necessary wave of 
grassroots protest that has risen up in the face of mass political 

At the heart of the play is Kora Lee, the eternally optimistic single 
mum to five boys, who becomes a symbol of survival even as her world is 
collapsing around her. When an architecture student turns up to ask 
Kora and her neighbours questions about their living conditions, an 
accidental campaign is launched to try and improve the neighbourhood.

If this sounds like a sentimental  polemic, think again. Far from 
leading the campaign, Kora's main pre-occupation is attempting to sire 
an even bigger brood, either with community policeman Bob or else the 
nearest test tube donor, all done on her own terms.

Played in the round inside Becky Minto's wonderful living room pod that 
encloses both cast and audience with a display of disembodied 
furniture, Bone's production is a multi-faceted affair pulsed by a 
gloriously matter of fact earthiness. Much of this is led by Emily 
Winter, who plays Welsh emigre Kora as a lusty back-street earth mother 
who lives in the moment whatever. In some ways, Kora's acts of everyday 
self-determination and a desire to procreate are bigger than the 
ultimately doomed campaign depicted. The coming together of community 
too is crucial. For Kora, life doesn't simply go on. It's the creating 
it that counts.

The Herald, May 27th 2013


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