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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Critic's Choice - South Bend

Edinburgh’s own Grid Iron theatre company were way ahead of the curve in terms of producing site-specific theatre. Having set the tone for their work with early forays down Mary King’s Close with The Bloody Chamber and the cavernous spaces beneath Central Library that now houses the Bongo Club (Underbelly in August), the company have spent more than two decades exploring different ways of making theatre.

This new piece by actor/writer Martin McCormick is presented in association with the Easterhouse-based Platform venue. While it will play in regular theatres throughout an autumn tour, the show’s TED-talk style format lends itself to the National Museum of Scotland’s lecture theatre space. A quasi-autobiographical fantasia, South Bend charts McCormick’s flight to America a decade ago to be reunited with a woman he had fallen passionately in love with, only to find that in their four months apart, everything had changed, the woman most of all. This leaves McCormick penniless and confused as he goes back on the road in a personal voyage of discovery.

McCormick has previously worked with Grid Iron as an actor, although his increasing profile as a playwright has led to a collaboration that sees him combine both talents, with Jess Chanliau playing all the other parts. Grid Iron artistic director Ben Harrison’s production integrates live foley work into a personal but fantastical road movie for the stage.  

As well as overseeing South Bend, Harrison will also be directing Let’s Inherit The Earth, a new play by Morna Pearson presented at the Pleasance in a co-production by the Highland-based Dogstar company and the Stockholm-based Profilteatern company. There will also be a revival of Egg by Paper Doll Militia, based on Harrison’s original direction and staged at Summerhall.

South Bend, Gilded Balloon at the Museum until August 27, 3-4pm.


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