Sunday, 5 April 2015

On The Edge

West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Three stars

When four women gather on a grassy hillock on Easter Saturday to introduce us to a very familiar story, the dressed-down approach of Salome, Anna, the wife of Peter the disciple, and two very different kinds of Mary ushers in something beyond a more familiar roll-call of emperors, scribes and hand-washing statesmen. Instead, Susan Mansfield's take on the greatest story ever told in Cutting Edge Theatre Company's now annual open-air Edinburgh Easter Play lets those who we normally don't hear about have their say.

Over a series of nine largely solo scenes, the audience bear witness to confessionals and testimonies from the Bible's minor characters, innocent bystanders, bit part players and all but silent witnesses to the everyday miracles and crucifixions that will define them forever after. There is the apology of Claudia, the wife of Pontious Pilate, who remained acquiescent in her husband's decision. There is the military realpolitik of a camouflage-clad centurion who gave orders to hyped-up squaddies in the face of what they saw as religious extremism. There are the servants who saw water transformed into wine, the women who looked on as those buried were raised from the dead, and those who saw the empty tomb of their messiah after he had been killed.

It's a a lot to take in over the two hours of Suzanne Lofthus' production, but, as the audience are promenaded through the Gardens in four separate colour-coded groups, her community cast give it their all. As amplified echoes of other orators elsewhere bleed over each other, the effect puts flesh on a collective litany culled from the same set of divine inspirations.
 
The Herald, April 6th 2015

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