Horizon Arts return to Fringe 2013 with another powerful and involved drama. Written and directed by Philip Stokes ‘Beeston Rifles’ is a twisting psycho drama which explores a number of emotional complexities including sibling resentments and hostilities as well as revealing family secrets which provide the core cause of these simmering tensions. As usual with this group minimal sets and a small tight knit cast-Lee Bainbridge, Kate Daley, Kirsty Green and Ryan Hogan- are enough to create a maelstrom of dramatic edge shot through with dark, twisted humour that makes for an, at times, unsettling experience but one that is always enthralling.
Stacey is out for revenge for the death of her father who was killed in an accident after being run down by a cokehead rich kid. Or so she believes. Now solely responsible for her mentally retarded brother Frankie her resentment has spilled over into bitterness and she kidnaps and holds hostage brother and sister, Alex and Polly.
The two sets of siblings could not come from two more different backgrounds with Polly and Alex being born to privilege whilst Stacey and Frankie are from the wrong side of the tracks in every way. The only thing the two pairs seeemingly have in common is that they have grown up without their respective mothers and the single father stigma has touched them both in opposing ways.
What transpires during this one hour and twenty minutes drama is that beneath the surface the same resentments for both couples still bubble away. Alex resents Polly for being favoured by her father and Stacey resents Frankie for being retarded and dependent on her. Stacey is definitely the foremost character here and her performance is outstanding though she is more than ably supported by the rest of the cast.
The drama meanwhile unfolds building to crescendos of revelation punctuated only by snippets of Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, as the events occur on New Years Eve. It transpires that none of the assumptions the audience and characters have made at the beginning of the play are the whole story and families are drawn apart and brought together again in an extremely convincing and volatile fashion. Hate turns to love and vice versa.
‘Beeston Rifles’ looks set to be a main contender at this years Fringe and like every other production I have seen by this company it is almost flawless in its execution and fascinating in its premise. Definitely one to catch!
Beeston Rifles is at Underbelly at 12.10 daily