Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015 Theatre Reviews 9 - Forever Young - Traverse Theatre - Four stars / The Solid Life of Sugar Water - Pleasance Dome - Four stars / Am I Dead Yet? - Traverse Theatre - Three stars

It's fitting that Forever Young begins outside the funfair carousel in the west end of Princes Street Gardens. As symbols of lost youth riding off into the sunset go, it's one of the best for this new piece of journey-based theatre from the Australian one step at a time like this company in association with the Irish Clonmel Junction Festival.

Using text messages and one to one interaction, the young people of Clonmel's newly christened Junction Joes ensemble lead the show's solitary audience member on a teenage joyride into rediscovering the child within. Risks may be taken, passion fruits may be stolen and hearts may be broken, but in coming to terms with lost idealism and the reckless joy of doing things for kicks, by the time you're on the couch being asked questions by a teenage therapist a la Lucy doling out advice to Charlie Brown, it becomes a melancholy confrontation with what it means to be a grown-up.

With our teenage guides on the cusp of going out into the big bad world themselves, under the guidance of directors Julian Rickart and Suzanne Kerston, every moment in this show is a two-way set of epiphanies, either in the moment for then, or half-remembered for an audience who's been holding onto those moments for decades. As far as restoring one's faith in an eternally questioning younger generation goes, this is a joy.

Runs until August 30.


A generation or so on, and love hurts in The Solid Life of Sugar Water, Jack Thorne's two-hander for the Graeae company, which puts a young couple centre-stage in the marital bed but increasingly miles apart as they stumble and tumble through their messy affair. Alice and Phil meet in the post office queue, where they fancy the pants off each other and throw themselves into a love story that by rights should have a happy ending, even if Phil does think Alice's deafness is 'exotic'. Beyond all the passion and icky-sticky stuff, however, life throws them a curve-ball when the baby they're trying for is still-born and suddenly all passion is spent as they tiptoe around each other, grieving as they go.

With the couple's conflicting versions of events initially as comic as a newspaper blind date column, things soon take a more painful turn as Genevieve Barr and Arthur Hughes wring every last gasp of emotion from Thorne's script in Amit Sharma's beautifully unsentimental production. Just as Alice and Phil's relationship seems to have fallen apart beyond repair, something is salvaged in this unflinchingly honest look at everyday tragedies and the healing that's required beyond them.

Runs until August 30.


Dying onstage is nothing new in Edinburgh at this time of year. Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe's fifty minute late-night cabaret drama based around notions of mortality takes such a notion to its logical limit in Am I Dead Yet?, their show for Unlimited Theatre. Opening with the pair standing at microphones in white vest and pants that give them the air of a 1970s anti litter campaign that ties in perfectly with their retro copper routine.

This is just one aspect of a show that barely pauses for breath in its low-attention-span race to cram everything in before anyone outstays their welcome. Spooner and Thorpe spar, jostle for position, tell stories, get a qualified first-aider to demonstrate CPR and generally contemplate matters of life and death with the high-octane energy of a stand-up in full flight. If there's a touch of the mid-life crisis at play here, it remains a provocative proposition designed to remind yourself you're alive.

Runs until August 30.

The Herald, August 26th 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…