Tron Theatre, Glasgow
It was thirty years ago, not quite today, but not far off either, when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, brought about by a heady brew of revolutionary zeal, seismic political shifts and a David Hasselhoff power ballad. Such is the pick-and-mix legacy of the end of the Cold War, spelt out in suitably ambiguous fashion in Katherina Radeva’s playful meditation on a time when you could be jailed for listening to the Beatles, while today’s apparent freedoms have brought with them a Costa and a McDonald’s on every corner.
Back then, before the world changed into something less sure of itself, Radeva was growing up in Bulgaria’s perma-grey concrete landscape. As she tells it, liberation and a divide of a different kind was about to take place, as lovers Freda and Stacey went their separate ways, with Freda walking away from a world of TV game shows to find a future to call her own. Three decades on, a new set of borders that don’t really exist about to be put in place, and invisible walls are everywhere.
First seen on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018, Alister Lownie’s production of Radeva’s creation for their Two Destination Language company begins with a new kind of ABC, as Radeva spells out the complexities of making a new society as if educating pre-schools with the building blocks required to make something that will last. There is a quiz, complete with a treasure trove of ideologically sound/suspect prizes (delete where applicable) and much fun to be had with audience voting.
At the show’s heart, however, is a serious look at what it means to be free, and how that freedom is constantly in flux depending on the choices you make in response to events great and small. Freda and Stacey are as much a crux of this as Radeva. It is the shared experience of both that makes their liberties worth fighting for.
The Herald, October 21st 2019