Skip to main content

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Theatre - The Greatest Play in the History of the World, Traverse Theatre, Four stars / South Bend, Gilded Balloon @ The Museum, Four stars

The stage resembles a shoe shop store-room throughout Raz Shaw’s production of Ian Kershaw’s play, The Greatest Play in the History of the World. Performed by the mighty Julie Hesmondhalgh, Kershaw’s starting point is the Carl Sagan-curated Golden Record, a sonic compendium of human life blasted into space on the off-chance it will float into the hands, minds or tentacles of extra-terrestrial lifeforms.

Closer to home, it begins in a street where various bodies orbiting around each other eventually collide. Tom in number 28 and Sara who live opposite in number 27 are ones to keep an eye on, although it’s the elderly Forshaws who really have their sights set on the stars. Hesmondhalgh’s rendering of Kershaw’s story of chance, synchronicity and the irresistible power of love is as clever as Einstein, as cosy as a pair of old slippers, and a joy to watch.

Things happened to Martin McCormick when he went to America. As a Scot abroad landing in a liberal arts institution, he was loved by everybody. Romance blossomed, and when he came back to Scotland he and his beloved swore they’d keep in touch. When he returned, not to California, but to a weird middle American town, everything changed.

This is the crux of McCormick’s play, South Bend, in which he rewinds on both his love affair with America and the short-term mess the reality of it made of his youthful life. This is no poor-me affair, however, as McCormick relays his personal odyssey in Ben Harrison’s production in a Ted-talk style presentation that’s full of charm and bonhomie. With Jess Chanliau playing all the other parts and live Foley work by David A. Pollock, McCormick seems to have survived his stateside excursion and lived to tell a very lively tale.

The Herald, August 15th 2018

ends


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…