Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 Theatre Reviews 3 - Nassim - Traverse Theatre - Five stars / The Believers Are But Brothers - Summerhall - Four stars / Salt - Summerhall - Four stars

Anyone who is a fan of the international phenomenon of White Rabbit Red rabbit since it first appeared several years ago should immediately rush to Nassim, Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour's latest work. Like its predecessor, Soleimanpour's play features a different actor at every show performing a script they have never seen until that moment.

In keeping with the spirit of the piece, it would be wrong to give away what happens next, except to say that the performer at the first show was Chris Thorpe, who leapt into proceedings with an all embracing vigour that saw him go willingly into the unknown. In some ways, such open-ness sums up everything about Soleimanpour's play for the Bush Theatre, London, which is introduced by director Omar Elerian. What follows is a delicate series of witty interactions, which gradually through Thorpe reveal a heartfelt plea for understanding through learning about cultures we might not initially understand.

Soleimanpour doesn't do this by making grand polemical statements, but cuts through to the basic domestic support systems anyone from any country should empathise with. It's this international language of sharing that makes Nassim such a special experience.
Until August 27.

The internet is a dangerous place in The Believers are But Brothers, Javaad Alipoor's hi-tech meditation on men, politics and a virtual world where make believe war-gaming is just a click away from real life radicalism. Using an array of screens with both live feeds and archive news footage, Alipoor shows through three characters how easy it is to be a big man in a virtual world, but also how real life consequences can be world-changing.

It begins and ends with a WhatsApp dialogue with the audience on their mobile phones. Inbetween, Alipoor dissects how online intimidation works using a mix of journalistic research and criss-crossing narratives between continents and religions. Coming from a British Muslim perspective, Alipoor's world-view is full of wit and a healthy rationale spurred on by a restless curiosity about what makes extremists tick.

The most telling and funniest moment of the show comes when he reveals that he actually wanted to make a work that focused on women, but that none of them he tried to contact through online chat groups wanted to know. It's in part from recognising the ridiculousness of this that makes this such an intelligent show. Given that all that online hate speech comes in part from a hyper organised network of easily led trolls who wouldn't usually say to to a terrorist, the geek may yet inherit the earth.
Until August 26.

Selina Thompson opens Salt, her excavation of her own history as a black British woman with a warning that she'll be using a sledge-hammer during the course of the show, so the first three rows will have to wear safety goggles. She says it so sweetly that it's a bit of a shock when she comes to smash the symbolic rocks of salt that represent the hierarchical chain of everyday racism that still lingers where you least expect it.

In 2014, Birmingham born Thompson and a film-maker friend embarked on a cargo ship to visit Ghana and Jamaica, exploring the key points of the slave trade which brought her family to Britain. As she travels, she is forced to square up a sea captain and his crew who appear to have stepped out of some neanderthal men only crew. Out of this comes an anger, but, as she travels further, it channels into a rich and enlightening experience which ultimately results in this show.

Thompson relays all this with a playful charm that grows ever stronger over the show's hour. Her unwillingness to have her history co-opted or else swept away is as important as her home in England. The calls to her dad are a particular delight in this respect. By the end, the power Thompson wields, both onstage and off, is formidable and heroic, no sledge-hammer required.
Until August 26.

The Herald, August 9th 2017

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1
1. THE STONE ROSES  - Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3  - Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART  - Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS  - Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY - Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!  - Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS - I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS - In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES  - Everso 10. THE SEERS  - Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND - You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS - We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE  - Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS  - Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND - In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES - Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS  - Justice In Freedom (12" Version)

1. THE STONE ROSES Don’t Stop ( SilvertoneORE1989)
The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds like it. Vocalist Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire met in 1980 at Altrincham Grammar School. With bassist …