Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…

This House

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Five years is a long time in politics just as it is in the theatre. When James Graham’s epic reimagining of one of the most pivotal eras in late twentieth century British democracy first appeared in 2012, its depiction of the aftermath of the 1974 hung parliament in Westminster chimed with a then current coalition. Half a decade and a couple of referendums on, Graham’s dramatic whizz through to 1979’s successful vote of no confidence in the Labour government now looks like a warning.
Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle’s touring revival of a production first seen at the National Theatre begins with both sides of the House marching en masse in their grey suits and twin-sets down the aisles of the auditorium before cutting a well-choreographed rug in formation. As the Labour and Tory whips mark out their territory away from the chamber, this proves to be one of the few moments of unity in a breathless yarn that picks at the old-school gentleman’s agree…