Skip to main content

Stowaway

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

It's the strangest sensation, coming into land on an international jet plane, in a limbo that's neither one place or the other. This is even more the case in Hannah Barker and Lewis Hetherington's elliptical study of what happens before and after an Indian stowaway falls from a Heathrow-bound flight from Dubai into the car park of a suburban branch of B&Q.

In the first half we see the effects of such a shocking incident on Lisa, the writer who was sat inches above the young man on her way home from a book tour, and on Andy, the newly redundant man who witnessed the fall. Both are traumatised enough for it to affect their everyday lives, with the dead man Aditya scurrying about Lisa, Andy and Andy's partner Debbie like a ghost in search of release.

What at first looks like a sea of first world problems in Barker and Hetherington's production for the Analogue company in association with the New Wolsey Theatre and the Easterhouse-based Platform organisation flips back across continents to explore the roots of Aditya's doomed plight. As actors Devesh Kishore, Steven Rae, Balvunder Sopal and Hannah Donaldson clamber about Rhys Jarman's scaffolding-based set, it is here the complicity between corporate property developers and construction companies exploiting poor workers wanting to take flight to better lands is made explicit.

It is the backs of ambitious but poverty stricken runaways like Aditya that shiny new cities are built on in this serious and stylistically playful navigation between two worlds in a show that lays bare the heartbreak of such unnecessary fatalities even as it questions its own right to exist.

The Herald, March 22nd 2016

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…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…