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Edinburgh Festival Fringe - Theatre Reviews 6

The List – Summerhall – 4 stars

In an increasingly death-laden Fringe thus far, Stellar Quines’
production of Quebecois writer Jennifer Tremblay’s solo play is a
blessing. A woman in the spotlight confesses all concerning the death
of a neighbour she became friendly with after attempting to start a new
life in the country. As she obsessively prioritises the daily minutiae,
the one thing that might have mattered for her increasingly sickly
friend slips unnoticed off the agenda.

This is a raw and emotionally wrought piece of work, given even more
power in Muriel Romanes’ production by the heart-wrenching power of
Maureen Beattie’s towering performance of Shelley Tepperman’s English
translation. In a play that’s in part about the fear of losing control,
Beattie lends a brittleness to the woman’s guilt that feels fully
natural without ever resorting to forced quirkiness.

While Beattie is a magnificent presence, beyond the words, Romanes has
crafted a full theatrical experience in one of Summerhall’s most
intimate lecture theatres. The play’s already brooding intensity is
heightened by both Jeannine Davies’ lighting and Philip Pinsky’s
sound-scape on John Byrne’s distressed metal set. Combined, Stellar
Quines have produced a thought-provoking study of action, consequence
and the foibles of human behaviour. Until August 25th.

Mother to Mother – Assembly George Square – 3 stars

Like The List, Mother to Mother is inspired by a real-life event. Part
of Assembly's South African season, Sindiwe Magona's play puts actress
Thembi Mtshali-Jones in the frame as Mandisa, the mother of a black
young man accused of killing American Fulbright scholar Amy Biehl in
Cape Town in 1993. the timing is crucial here. The mob killing came
mere months before a new dawn of democracy in South Africa, and the
country was a tinderbox.

By setting up Mandisa's imaginary testimony to Biehl's mother, Magona
cuts to the complex heart of reconciliation at a very personal level
beyond ideology. Punctuated by real-life imagery, including footage of
the South African government's announcement of the implementation of
apartheid, Yvette Hardie's production is a significant lesson in
forgiveness. Yet, despite Mtshali-Jones' impassioned performance, one
yearns to hear the voice of Beihl's mother to give it a dramatic edge
which the piece currently lacks. Until August 27th.

The Lonely One – Underbelly – 4 stars

One sweltering summer, an entire community is under siege in pre-Twin 
Peaks small town America. A solitary killer may be on the loose, but Lavinia
can't resist a trip across the ravine with her friend Francine to watch
a Charlie Chaplin film. Walking home alone after midnight, it may yet
prove to be the death of her.

Culled from the late Ray Bradbury's non-science fiction novel,
Dandelion Wine, Dotted Line Theatre have captured Bradbury's scarifying
sense of wonder via shadow puppets, torches and a row of pop-up models
of wooden shacks. Assorted night-life is projected onto these by the
show's four performers under the guidance of adaptor and director
Rachel Warr. The result is a beguiling trick of the light that taps
into the collective paranoia that ensues when the unknown strikes.
Performed in vintage costume, Dotted Line have created a charmingly
bespoke homage to Bradbury, with no hi-tech special effects required. 
Until August 26th.
The Herald, August 13th 2012


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