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Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Title and Deed

Gare St Lazare

Genre: Drama

Venue: Assembly Hall venue 35


Low Down

 Conor Lovett excels in Will Eno’s lyrical word fest


 A man, an empty stage, a knapsack which is unattended luggage (possibly unintended luggage given its owners refugee status), an hour’s worth of words. All of these add up to one lovely treat of a play brought to Edinburgh in its UK premiere by Irish company Gare St Lazare.  The actor in this one-hander is Conor Lovett and he gives an unfaltering, raw performance.

We learn the man chose to play the tuba badly, that he has unsuccessfully relationships with women whose name begin with L, he likes the words shed, lamp and horse and is fascinated by how we, people, have the language we have. He speaks our language perfectly but is not confident in his ability to do so.

 He gives good advice. He tells us not to get too lost for too long.

This is a play about not being from here. The man might be a migrant forced from his homeland by economics, or a refugee from a war or worse an asylum seeker on the run. He may be running from an asylum, isolated from us by a mind which cannot function in the ‘real world’. It is a play about  how lonely it is not to belong, but it is not a sad play. The man has a dry sense of humour, he wants to get to know us, although he finds us confusing. It is also a play about much we take for granted about home and what it feels like to be without what we regard as familiar, however alien the customs might appear to others.

 This is a play that when you leave the theatre makes you vow to be more welcoming, more forgiving and more understanding of strangers and their strange ways. It is a piece of theatre which reinforces that all that is necessary for an engrossing experience is a talented actor and playwright, and audience ready to listen.

The playwright, award winning American Will Eno, has been hailed as Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation – people born in the second half of the 20th century who look at the world though a quirky lens. He could just be hailed as a phenomenal wordsmith, a real craftsman of what is spoken who Gare St Lazare would want to collaborate with given their track record in staging most of Beckett’s works. They have chosen well in producing Title and Deed and it is great that it is playing here in Edinburgh.