Skip to main content

Fringe theatre 2018 - Blackthorn, Summerhall, Three stars / Tremor, Summerhall, Three stars

A boy and a girl are the first two children to be born into a Yorkshire village for twenty years in Blackthorn, Charley Miles’ play, presented by InSite Performance in association with Leeds Playhouse. With that in common, how can they not be lifelong friends? Life, however, has other plans, as childhood romps turn into adolescent awkwardness before ambitions diverge. 

Set against the backdrop of a farming community in freefall, Miles’ play is a tender portrait of a changing world given physical ballast in Jacqui Honess-Martin’s beautifully realised production. Charlotte Bate and Harry Egan throw themselves into this in a way that lays bare the growing pains of kindred spirits increasingly at odds with each other.

Out of this comes a heartbreaking study of how communities and relationships that might once have lasted forever are forced apart, but how, despite the fractures, prodigals and stay-at-homes alike will always return to their roots.

Two toy dinosaurs sit on the edge of the stage throughout Tremor, Brad Birch’s intense two-hander that looks at the fall-out of an unexpected reunion between a couple who split up four years before. While deceptively cuddly-looking, the big green dinosaur nevertheless looks like it’s terrorising the much smaller red one into extinction.

This is reflected in part by Sophie’s appearance at Tom’s door. Sophie and Tom were two of seven survivors of a major accident, and Sophie wants answers.

What at first looks like an emotionally necessary purging gradually morphs into a far darker response to some misguided notion of belonging. As each argue their corner in David Mercatali’s production for Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre, Louise Collins and Paul Rattray bring Sophie and Tom to life with a searing sense of consequence that has left the couple scarred in ways that reflect the times.

The Herald, August 25th 2018

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…