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The Bridge

North Edinburgh Arts, Edinburgh
Three stars

Bells chime and voices sing in what sounds like a mix of celebration and mourning at the opening of Annie George's solo play, performed by herself during the closing stages of a short tour following its Edinburgh Festival Fringe run. As we see projections of George writing out her own name at the bottom of her family tree, a very personal quest for identity ensues as she dramatises her inquiry into her own history through the voices of her ancestors who become witnesses to a world in turmoil.

The starting point for this is the life and work of George's grand-father, Paduthottu Mathen John, whose portrait is projected as George adopts his persona to illustrate her hand-me-down legacy. She does this too through snapshots of her mother and father as her family eventually move to the west and a less turbulent way of life than in both pre and post colonial India.

There is considerable charm in George's impressionistic labour of love, much of which comes from a performance that isn't afraid to leave herself vulnerable but which can be steely when it needs to be. Pulsed along by an exquisite score by Niroshini Thambar that lends both the text and visuals a richness and a depth that also gives what could be an overly dense rendering space to breathe.

In terms of showing how global events can have an often life-changing effect on everyday lives, this is an intimate excavation of a hidden past that sees George reclaim her roots and present them as an elegiac multi-media tone-poem. “We are history,” she says at one point, taking charge of everything and everyone that defines her.

The Herald, October 27th 2015

ends

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