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The Sunnyside Centre

Hibs Supporters Club, Edinburgh
Three stars

The doors stay closed once the audience have found sanctuary from the un-named chaos outside in Village Pub Theatre's imagined response to a world gone mad. In the Hibs Supporters Club function room, a magician plays tricks at a small table while we are split into colour-coded groups. On the dance-floor, on the stage and over by the bar, other bodies are loitering, finding space to breathe as they hide in plain sight.

Over the next hour, these five survivors share their stories through a series of bite-size encounters that recall the scenes in disaster movies when everyone's thrown together in crisis and discovers the person beyond the strangers they would otherwise never have met. This is certainly the case for the magician in Les, Sophie Good's one-man opening gambit performed by Crawford Logan. It's true too in The Administrator, in which Tim Barrow's clipboard-wielding middle manageress confesses all.

In James Ley's The Sunnyside Readings, Pierce Reid proffers up confidential information before ripping it up and starting again. In Louise E Knowles' Wish You Were Here, John Macauley finds salvation through music, while in Helen Shutt's Operation Clean Up, a seemingly anonymous functionary played by Kirstin Murray reveals her secret subversive past, and how, in her own way, she remains forever undercover.

This first full production by Village Pub Theatre, which for the last five years has presented rough and ready rehearsed readings in the back room of a Leith boozer, has expanded its horizons for this loosely linked compendium of short works. Overseen by director Caitlin Skinner, seen together, they resemble the sort of portmanteau horror films in which each story-teller goes straight to hell. Here, however, the emphasis is on survival in a brave new world where life begins anew.

The Herald, December 14th 2017

ends

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