Friday, 22 August 2014

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 Theatre Reviews 11 - Theatre Uncut

Traverse Theatre
Four stars
Revolutions don't often start on Monday mornings. For the last three
Mondays, however, Theatre Uncut has suggested otherwise in a series of
lo-fi presentations of relatively hot-off-the-press bite-size playlets
in response to burning issues of the moment. Founded in 2010 by
directors Emma Callander and Hannah Price as an open access style
operation in response to the Westminster government's cut-driven
austerity culture, Theatre Uncut has become an annual fixture of the
Traverse bar, where their three programmes were presented as
script-in-had works in progress.

This year's first session featured five new works, including Anders
Lustgarten's The Finger of God, which sees what happens when the
National Lottery is sexed up to extreme proportions, and Inua Ellams
This is Us, in which direct action against the bedroom tax is the only
solution. It is a timely co-opting of someone else's words that made
Hayley Squires' piece, Ira Provitt and the Man, so special, closing as
it did with Charlie Chaplin's rousing plea for humanity and justice in
his film, The Great Dictator. It is a powerful and increasingly
pertinent way to close.

The forthcoming Scottish referendum has been pretty hard to avoid on
this year's Fringe, and Theatre Uncut's response came in the form of
six very different plays. The absurdity of Lewis Hetherington's The
White Lightning and the Black Stag, in which a woman is questioned
exactly how Scottish she feels, is heightened even more in AJ
Taudevin's The 12.57.  Here border guards in Berwick upon Tweed keep an
eye on the trains with an increasing pointlessness.

Davy Anderson's two monologues see the referendum through the cynical
non-voters who will decide the referendum's result, Kieran Hurley's
Close is its weary hangover, and Rob Drummond's Party Pieces asks who,
given the chance, will sing up in their own voice.

The final Theatre Uncut programme featured work by writers from Turkey
and Scotland responding to the wave of protests in and around
Istanbul's Gezi Park. Performed by actors from the Turkish theatre
company, DOT Tiyatro alongside Theatre Uncut regulars, the programme
looked at how young people can be politicised by police brutality, how
news of the protest is disseminated, and the very real threat of
dissent being crushed without discrimination. This is a powerful
insight into a situation rarely heard about in any form on these
shores, and is perhaps the most telling example of why Theatre Uncut
remains such a vital platform.

The Herald, August 21st 2014


ends

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