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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Theatre Reviews 2 - Huff - CanadaHub @ King's Hall, Four Stars / Ulster American, Traverse Theatre, Four Stars

Huff begins with a suicide attempt. This sets the tone for Cliff Cardinal’s fearless solo look at the underbelly of Canada’s indigenous community. What emerges through Cardinal’s dynamic and discomforting tale of three brothers is a picture of disenfranchisement, brutalisation, inter-familial abuse and collective dysfunction. This is told through the voice of Wind and his kid brother Huff, feral little punks getting high on anything they can.

Cardinal is a human whirlwind throughout Karin Randoja’s production, originally presented by Native Earth Performing Arts and co-produced here by Cunning Concepts and Creations as part of Summerhall’s CanadaHub strand. Beyond geographical specifics, there is a recognisable universality at play. This is what happens to marginalised communities the world over. When Wind decides to live, it’s the first messy step in recognising that it doesn’t have to be that way.

In Ulster American, Hollywood A-lister Jay and right-on London Theatre director Leigh meet to discuss the forthcoming production of Ruth’s new play. As they freeform ideas dominated by Jay’s largesse, boundaries are crossed in recognisably troubling ways. When Ruth arrives, things take an even more problematic turn in an increasingly frenetic debate on cultural identity that stems from a mixture of ignorance, sentiment and blind loyalty.

David Ireland’s explosive new work ruthlessly exposes a world that likes to think itself edgy, when in fact it rarely goes beyond a wet liberal consensus. The extreme farce that erupts is an unflinching assault on political presumption, in-grained ambition and desperate careerists willing to kiss the orifice that allows them to scramble their way to the top.

The trio are played with turbo-charged abandon in Gareth Nicholls’ Traverse company production by Darrell D’Silva as Jay, Robert Jack as Leigh and Lucianne McEvoy as Ruth. The play’s punchline might not be subtle, but it is necessarily deadly in its execution.

The Herald, August 9th 2018

ends


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