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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

13 Sunken Years

Stellar Quines, Lung Ha and the Finnish National Theatre

Genre: Drama

Venue: The Assembly Rooms


Low Down

A Scandinavian tale that combines two of our most radical companies along with a dark and foreboding tale. Touching on dementia, loss and the hopes and dreams of people that are trying to cope with one woman who left; little do they realise how close she was to them the whole time. 


Eva has lost her mother. One morning at 5am she left. She has not returned and we see how Eva and her grandmother, Ursula, diagnosed with Alzheimers is coping with the loss of a child, loss of a mother and now the loss of grandmother’s memories. When Eva’s friends Eeli and Timppa return with their baby a memorial is held. This is after the time that has elapsed between her mother leaving and now is legally time for her to be declared dead. One morning, after the memorial Ursula goes swimming on the river that runs deeply through the town and their lives. Eva has a fear of swimming and when Ursula makes the discovery that her number plate is in the river, the end of the story becomes inevitable and tragic.

This was an excellent and taut translation. It worked very well with performances balanced on top of very good text. The performance of young actress Nicola Tuxworth is outstanding and well worthy of note. The only slight criticism I would make is that, at times the eyes wandered off the stage and the focus went but apart from that this is a polished and tempered performance from a very fine young actress. Around her there are great supporting roles being played from the rest of the cast, but for one so young to bring such moodiness and focus is just fantastic.

The stage design was elaborate and matched the complexity of what was on show. It had cleverness in the guise of the water at the front and the wooden sauna was reminiscent of the saunas I have seen in Scandinavia; it was a very up market IKEA.

The production was slick and the music helped the pace along. To say that I really liked this show is not an understatement. It combined an excellent set with a very simple story that was well told. The ending was not choreographed in any way but once we had the idea of it, it gave us what we were after.

The idea of co-productions between the Scandinavians and ourselves is hardly genius as the Finnish landscape influences the mood of its people as much as the dramatic highlands and intense lowlands of Scotland. To take that lunge with the companies Stellar Quines and Lung Ha is however a step in another direction that is just great. Bold, imaginative, inspirational and dark, this is theatre that works on every level and includes all of us in its emotional telling. 


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