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Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Here is the news from over there (Over there is the news from here)

Northern Stage

Genre: Devised, Improvised Theatre

Venue: Northern Stage at Summerhall


Low Down

Take one actor from Lebanon, another from Egypt and add in a special guest. They are tasked every day with taking emails, poems and songs from the Middle East which are sent to them and making them into theatre. There are two constants – the flip flop song but even that is put into a different style nightly; and the live streaming of the weaving – but they change people nightly too.


As you enter you are given a sweet cup of tea which is very welcoming. One of the things which is both challenging and impressive about this show is that each day it is new and my bill of fare this evening includes a poem turned into a Tunisian song, a Tunisian poem, a scene between a grand daughter and her grandfather who has Alzheimers in Tel Aviv, an Algerian contribution called Twelve Hours in Algeria, the play on words – tEROSst and the aforementioned Flip Flop song. It all made me think.

It is late – 11.10pm – and my thinking process are in need of some refreshment so what follows should simply not work for me. The pace is hardly fast, the format a bit challenging and the thought of minimal rehearsals… I was therefore astonished that it worked and worked so well.

The first song from Heba Habib was musically my favourite, Twelve Hours in Algeria the best poem but it was the bitter sweet playing of the scene in Tel Aviv which blew me away. OK so both actors had the script in front of them and there was a lot of ticking going on – it was almost as if the disease had infiltrated the page and they were forced to have the more lucid one keep the place. It broke your heart and probably if it had been a play would have struggled to maintain such simple intensity. As it was a piece they had received that day and moulded into the performance that we saw I just sat and revelled in its beauty.

Technically speaking there is a guy sitting doing a little and a couple of musicians doing a lot – that is at least the in jokes. Technically we have some decent work underpinning the whole thing but I am searching in vain for the flip flop song online.

As it changes every night there shall be better and less assured pieces as part of each performance. I would, however, not hesitate to return. It is neither overtly political nor is it avoiding any issues – just like art can be at times – provocative but not offensively so.