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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

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