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Theatre Uncut 3 – Traverse 4 stars


The final compendium of short new plays with a conscience done in a 
lo-fi script-in-hand manner in the Traverse bar cafe first thing in the 
morning was a part greatest hits, part world exclusive show that fully 
justified the initiative's Bank of Scotland Herald Angel win at the 
weekend. Two plays, Anders Lustgarten's The Break Out and Clara 
Brennan's heartfelt and life-affirming monologue, Spine, had been 
deemed good enough to merit speedy revivals.

Lustgarten's piece about two female jailbirds who find they're able to 
break out with ease after prison budget cuts mean less bricks in the 
walls even had the added bonus of two different actresses playing the 
cell-mates to add a different energy to proceedings. It is Spine, 
however, that should be downloaded and distributed (free of charge, as 
with all Theatre Uncut contributions) post-haste. Rosie Wyatt's 
rendering of Brennan's beautiful play about a pan-generational alliance 
in care of a horde of stolen library books has twice now proved to be 
one of the finest and most touching moments of this year's Fringe.

Of the new works, The Birth of My Violence, translated from its 
original Spanish by Roberto Cavazos, is a monologue in which one man 
wrestles with the contradictions between art, action and artistic 
action, while Blondie, by twenty-two year old Hayley Squires, finds a 
drop-dead gorgeous demagogue interrogated by police before going to the 
gallows in a dystopian Britain on the verge of collapse.

After a brief if slightly chaotic ad hoc nod to the incarceration of 
female Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, the main event of the morning 
came in The Naked Rambler, a new piece by David Greig so fresh that the 
entire event was delayed slightly so the cast of Tam Dean Burn and 
Ashley Smith could read the script through to the end – for the first 
time. Burn and Smith play two bored Fife PCs whose time watching the 
Olympics on TV is interrupted by the arrival of Stephen Gough, aka the 
real-life Naked Rambler, who was recently re-arrested in Fife after 
spending six years in Perth and Saughton prisons for consistently 
appearing nude in public.

While highlighting the absurdities of Gough's sentencing, Greig moves 
into the realms of magical-realist farce, as the landscape visibly 
changes around them. While one blames Olympic opening ceremony director 
Danny Boyle for the spectacle, the other gets back to nature and joins 
the increasingly naked throng.
Things may be rough round the edges, but all of the plays are 
thrillingly of the moment. Presuming that the cuts will go on getting 
deeper, Theatre uncut will return in November with a set of even newer 
works. Run ended.

The Herald, August 23rd 2012

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