Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Rusted Dust provide an interesting but flawed two handed short performance of how Kip turns up to defect with his lover and is then put to the ultimate test of love and patriotism. Albert has been sitting waiting for him but his role is not what it seems until he leaves Kip with the only honourable way out.
Arthur is sitting on a chair waiting patiently. After a short time Kip arrives and we hear that he thinks he is on holiday in Vienna in the 1950’s. This is not what British intelligence want from him as they have a job for him – an assassination. Arthur tests him with half truths and hints before he reveals who he is in a final twist and why Kip is now facing the ultimate betrayal.
This has the classic post war, coldness at its heart. We enter with the expectation that we are to be treated to a taught thriller with more twists than a Viennese alley as Arthur, the working class patriot twists and turns the upper class homosexual, Kit round several little fingers – even allowing Kit a gun that could be used to kill Arthur. By the end of the piece we are left with a quick denouement, in comparison with the rest of the play which is supposed to leave us with a breathless feeling of – I never saw that coming.
The truth be told, I did and I didn’t. It may be my age but having been brought up in an era when the Communist Threat was all too real the over riding feel of this production was one of missed opportunities. The text weaved in and out of cliché but was also compelling. The performances were relatively assured, though at times I felt there was something missing in the chemistry – at no time did I invest fully in either character – and yet I was never an unbeliever. The direction perhaps needs to be tweaked to bring these two actors more together and yet I can find little to seriously criticise. It was almost over rehearsed or under rehearsed and searching for a peak.
The set and the technical elements of The Communist Threat were functional and added to the bleakness of a 1950’s Viennese backwater; so much so that I half expected the introduction of Harry Lime as the saviour.
The Fringe is to be treasured because of productions like this where we have some very decent plays put on with a longer than usual run that can allow the performances and the material to grow. I was glad to have caught this but left, after less than the advertised hour, feeling that an element of it was missing. I did, though think I had seen a company with the ability to grow their product and give a better production as time progresses. It is worth a visit as it did provoke some thought and I did enjoy it.