Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 Theatre Reviews 12 – Traverse Breakfast Plays 2 - Fat Alice / Mother Ease / Walter

Fat Alice
Traverse Theatre
Three stars
When the crack that appears in the ceiling of a woman who's been
conducting a ten-year affair with a married man threatens to turn into
something bigger, it becomes a metaphor for how easy it is for  entire
worlds to come crashing down if you allow them to run to seed. Issues
of body image, fear of commitment and the willingness to acquiesce to
others all rear their chocolate-fuelled head in Alison Carr's absurdist
tragicomedy, the fourth play in the mini season of Traverse Breakfast
Plays directed by Traverse associate director Emma Callander as
script-in-hand work-in-progress productions.

There are contemporary shades of Ionesco in the audacious largesse of
Carr's script, which would make a wonderful radio piece while offering
some potentially tantalising technical and design choices for any
future full stage production. As it stands, Keith Fleming and Meg
Fraser spar furiously in a domestic tug of war where comfort eating can
bring the house down with big-toed abandon.
Repeated August 22.

Mother Ease
Traverse Theatre
Three stars
Angela and Fiona have very different ideas about child-care. Yet
somehow the pair have ended up together in Angela's high-rise flat,
with Fiona seemingly there to offer guidance on how Fiona should be
raising her new baby, Aidan. At the opposite ends of the social
spectrum, the two women don't exactly bond, but form a brittle alliance
of need, especially inn the face of Jim, the father of Angela's other
child. It is when the two women enter the house of Marie, however,
where the full tragic consequences of an entire class being allowed to
slip through the cracks of an already broken system are tragically
brought home.

After five days of Traverse Breakfast Plays, Molly Innes' new play is a
devastating thing to wake up to. Unremittingly bleak, it is a forensic
dramatic dissection of a part of society we only ever hear about when
things go wrong. When it is Fiona rather than Angela who finds
something to believe in with Jim at the play's end, it is all too
telling of how broken things have become in a damning and fearlessly
serious affair.
Repeated August 23.

Walter
Traverse Theatre
Three stars
Growing old disgracefully was never on the cards for Gloria, the woman
on the verge of something or other in Lachlan Philpott's magnificent
rom-com with a twist that forms the final selection of this year's
Traverse Breakfast Plays Season. When Gloria's sister Sheena sets her
up on a blind date at the zoo, she meets Walter, who's not her type,
but who she ends up dating anyway. It is a very different kind of wild
life, however, that she ends up discovering with Walter and his foxy
friends.

This is quirkily off-kilter as it gets as Philpott explores the odder
side of the dating and mating game through an eye-poppingly strange set
of characters. With Andy Clark suitably goofy in the title role, Meg
Fraser once again steals the show in a delightfully deadpan portrayal
of Gloria that proves to be one of the highlights of the entire season.
Repeated August 24.

The Herald, August 22nd 2014

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…