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

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…