Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Hold

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
Three stars
Given just how much we are living in an age of instant archiving via 
Instagram, Tumblr and whatever other  social media app may have just 
gone live, Adrian Osmond's play about one man's rummaging through the 
emotional totems that shaped him is a particularly timely piece of 
work. As performed by Lung Ha's inclusive ensemble company in Maria 
Oller's site-specific tour around a building that holds a vast store of 
archival material that gives a hungry public several keys to the past.

As John Edgar's ageing Peter goes through boxes with mobile phone 
wielding Sally to conjure up his past while a distracted Bridget loses 
sight of her little girl elsewhere, this is an infinitely more personal 
display than anything held off-limits in glass cases. This is something 
the bumptious Professor Stone's lecture on 'Thing Theory' makes clear.  
With Peter's younger self reappearing to attempt to woo his dream girl 
Alice, sense memories are made flesh in a play about loves clung onto 
and children lost that's as elegiac as anything by Stephen Poliakoff. A 
modernist music score by Kenneth Dempster played by a live quintet adds 
to the mood.

If the venue's acoustics aren't always friendly to Oller's production – 
and questions remain about why no regular Edinburgh theatre seems 
prepared to house Lung Ha's work -  its dramatic and philosophical 
ambitions make up for this. With the company's increasingly 
well-drilled performers relaying Osmond's script with sensitivity and 
grace, Lung Ha's have created a show that attempts to go beyond 
nostalgia to capture an idea of how the collective past is about much, 
much more than official history.

The Herald, March 14th 2014

ends

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