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Mr Noose Tie / Heroes

Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
Three stars

As their name suggests, Twelve Twelve Theatre are a young Edinburgh-based company who this year aim to produce a dozen plays over as many months. This third double bill of short new works takes them halfway to their target, with another three to come. If that says much about the DIY ambition of the company co-led by Saskia Ashdown and Andrew Cameron, the plays go further.

Mr Noose Tie is Jim Rennie’s absurdist yarn concerning a man who is forced to roleplay his own suicide attempt as part of a public experiment. Bit part players in Rennie’s psychological romp through Mr Noose Tie’s state of mind include his Kafkaesque boss and a woman in a bunny outfit who migt have saved him. Overseen by a steely doctor off the leash and a deadpan bouncer called Huge Philip, the heart of Mr Noose Tie’s troubles can be found with the woman he possibly still loves. What emerges in Ashdown’s brisk production is a self-reflective matter of life and death which, in its plea for second chances, falls somewhere between Monty Python and Pirandello.

if Rennie’s play is larger than life, Heroes by Gemma McGinley is an exquisite exercise in intimacy. Here, life-long friends Penny and Lewis must face up to some life-changing grown-up stuff beyond the game of hop-scotch they mark time with at the start of the play.
As McGinley’s spare script flits across pivotal moments of the pair’s mutual pasts in a series of bite-size scenes, there’s a lovely chemistry between Rachel Flynn as Penny and Adam Greene as Lewis. McGinley and Connel Burnett’s production is well-drilled enough to see both actors turn on a pin from sparring toddlers to sulky teens to troubled adults once more.

Like Mr Noose Tie, the ending of Heroes may be inconclusive, but its portrait of kindred spirits is by turns funny, touching and beautifully accomplished. Like the game of hopscotch that opens it, McGinley’s play shows how easy it is to take a tumble when you don’t know where you might land, but also how important it is to have someone to pick you back up again.

The Herald, July 6th 2018

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