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…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

James Ley - Love Song to Lavender Menace

James Ley had never heard of Lavender Menace when he won an LGBT History Month Scotland Cultural Commission award to write a new play. While Edinburgh's pioneering gay book shop that existed between 1982 and 1987 before reinventing itself in new premises as West and Wilde wasn't on Ley's radar, he had vaguely heard of the Gentlemen's Head Quarters, the nickname for the public toilet that existed at the east end of Princes Street outside Register House. He was also half aware of Fire Island, the legendary gay nightclub that existed at the west end of Princes Street in a space that now forms the top floor of Waterstone's book shop.

As he discovered, Fire Island was a central focal point for what was then a still largely underground gay scene in Edinburgh's capital. Alongside the likes of the Laughing Duck pub on Howe Street, Fire Island was one of the few places where HI-NRG music could be heard in what would these days be dubbed a safe space for gay men and wo…