Archive for August 23rd, 2016

THE IMMORTAL

The Immortal
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Whilst this is essentially a conventional piece of theatre it is also an extremely effective and moving one.
When five World War Two airmen are shot down in Holland by Germans they seek shelter in a deserted schoolroom where they try to revive the one injure member of their party. Amidst the hysteria of their plight we soon discover the background stories of each of them and how the war has affected and motivated them. soon after their arrival they a young German girl, fighting for the Resistance, arrives offering help but inevitably her efforts arouse suspicion and mistrust amongst a couple of the airmen.
The tragedy and futility of war is never far from our thoughts and never more so when the jack the lad character ‘Dicky’ Dixon- a stand out performance by Sam St.Clair- whose forced jollity has simultaneously galvanised and irritated the other four, reveals his own personal losses that are the result of the war. It is a particularly moving moment and makes clear how it is the forgotten dead who are the real losers in the horrors of any war; people who give their lives unknowingly and more often than not unwillingly.
Although this is a fairly straight forward piece of theatre there is also a twist at the play’s en which is quite unexpected. All the performances are spot on- the angry and brash American, the working class no-hoper and the upper-class privileged types are all represented- and the play gathers its own momentum and sets its own pace. A very accomplished production!
****
The Immortal is on daily at 15.00 at Greenside, Infirmary Street until August 27th

COLD/WARM

Cold/ Warm
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There is very obviously a lot of talent in this production, not least the outstanding performance by Ieuan Perkins , but ultimately the whole thing is frustrating. The script meanders a little too much in the first half and although it picks up somewhat it takes too long to establish itself and by the time it does the audience may already be lost.
Trying to win an audience back after their attention has wandered and no matter how Perkins tried to hold our attention unfortunately the script let him down a little so his endeavours were somewhat fruitless even if they were effective.
Focusing on the mental breakdown of an isolated youngster lacking the guidance he had relied on from his mother until the authorities intervened and placed her in care. Perkins does an excellent job of mimicking these authoritarian figures but meanwhile his life is becoming more and more internalised until he is only able to observe it from his high-rise council flat. The ritual abuse of a neighbourhood dog simultaneously fascinates and horrifies him and he is at once emotionally involved but somehow detached.
The dialogue in this play is extremely clever but it is also more than a little clunky. Trying hard to make a point it seems to forget to involve the audience or even consider entertaining them. As a lunchtime show it is extremely difficult to digest and although it picked up and had a suitably climactic ending it still felt as if it was just slightly too little too late.
***
Cold/ Warm is at Pleasance Courtyard until 29th August at 12.45 daily.

EARS ON A BEATLE

Ears on a Beatle
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John Lennon was always the most interesting of the Fab Four. Even before his murder in 1980 he was the Beatle the world continued to be fascinated by: McCartney had gone onto huge success with Wings, George Harrison had found religion and an artistic freedom previously denied him under the shadow of the Lennon/ Mc Cartney juggernaut and Ringo moved on to narrate Thomas the Tank Engine whilst marrying a Bond girl along the way.
Lennon though managed to hold the ear of the world with his political outpourings and his tireless campaigns for peace. Not surprisingly he also had the ear of the FBI and come to their attention who, concerned about his anti-establishment stance, had him under surveillance whilst also tapping his phones to find out what his next move would be.
It wasn’t so much Lennon himself which alarmed them but how much his views would filter through to a young audience under thirty who, unable to find a voice for themselves in the machinations of politics and authority, would take inspiration from the former Beatle and follow his lead.
This play by Mark St. Germain focuses on two FBI agents who have been assigned the Lennon case. One of them, Daniel (Ben Adwick), is Lennon’s supposed target audience who goes undercover and manages to infiltrate Lennon’s social circle and greater access to the man himself.
The other, Howard (Paul Broesmith), is a much more authoritarian figure who follows life’s rulebook although after an accidental encounter with Lennon also finds his staunch views compromised and questioned somewhat.
The plot is an interesting one although when it jumps from December 1972 to December 1980, the night of Lennon’s assassination, it feels as if a large chunk of the story has been edited and some clarity is lost. Interestingly enough assassination theories and conspiracies, almost as much as Lennon, are a central topic in this production with Martin Luther King and the Kennedy Brothers cropping up at frequent intervals.
Occasionally the acting and staging is a little wooden but more often than not it is effective and gets the message across. As an early show for the Fringe it is highly effective however and if you are out for a ay of shows then I can’t honestly think of a better way to start than with this.
****
EARS ON A BEATLE is at Greenside, Infirmary Street at 11.25 am daily until August 27th.