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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 Reviews 1 - Enough - Traverse Theatre / How Not to Drown - Traverse Theatre

Traverse Theatre
Four stars

Something is stirring in Stef Smith’s new play, in which flight attendants Jane and Toni take stock of their friendship, only to come out fighting. No more than is probably normal, mind you, for a pair of forty-somethings permanently in motion and on the verge of discovering their domestic lives aren’t as blissful or as free-spirited as they thought.

If such a scenario sounds like old-school kitchen-sink, Smith has transcended such potential pitfalls to create a dramatic symphony of words. This mixes dialogue, interior monologue, some sharp one-liners and a wash of psycho-sexual surreal imagery put through a latter day feminist filter.

Louise Ludgate and Amanda Wright are majestic as the pair in Bryony Shanahan’s production, their words bouncing back and forth between them. As Kai Fischer’s set seems to self-destruct, Jane, Toni and a million other women rise up like air, the sky no longer the limit.

Until August 25

How Not to Drown
Four Stars

There is more than one moment in Nicola McCartney and Dritan Kastrati’s new play when you suddenly remember that the situations Kastrati is bringing to life in Neil Bettles’ production are things he actually lived through. These moments jolt the brilliantly stylised choreography into a devastating self-portrait of real life on the emotional frontline.

Kastrati’s flight from Kosovo during the fallout of the Balkan War aged 11 is a dazzling whirl from late night boat rides with dodgy mafiosi to the Kafkaeque indignities of the UK care system. Kastrati plays himself, his parents and umpteen others alongside four other actors who move in a fluid unison that world leaders could learn from.

Performed on Becky Minto’s wooden raft of a set, Bettles’ co-production between the Traverse, Thickskin, Tron and Lawrence Batley companies is a heroic evocation of human triumph. As Kastrati looks backwards to map out how he got here, it’s what happens next that counts.

Until August 25

The Herald, August 8th 2019



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