Edinburgh Fringe 2017
A newly devised thirty minute show linking news from last week to a parallel event from the past.
This premise is simple. Take an event from the past, preferably within living memory and then write a brand new show linking it to a notable news event from the previous week. Then stage it and perform it. This week’s theme is Battleground.
Sounds very simple, but several people here have put in an awful lot of work to deliver a quality piece of theatre from a blank sheet of paper in under a week. Writer Eve Allin chose the Battle of Lewisham as her event from the past and the Unite The Right rally that has dragged Donald Trump through the mire in terms of his reaction to it (or lack thereof) over the past two weeks.
The similarities are, one would hope, pretty obvious. Lewisham saw members of the far-right National Front clash with counter-demonstrators with ensuing violent clashes involving up to 4000 people and police riot shields deployed for the first time in the UK. Charlottesville in North America saw clashes between white supremacists and a crowd of anti-racist and anti-facist protesters leading to the death of Heather Heyer. It was the biggest white supremacist event in recent US history.
But it will never happen again, will it? It will never happen here, will it? That’s the thrust of the polished dialogue between the two actors, Rory Bines-Morris and Caroline Taylor as they mix real quotes from the reaction to events in Charlottesville with their scripted text. The former were nicely chosen polemics too, with the slants from the Daily Mail and The Guardian sitting in juxtaposition to those from the embattled President Trump himself.
With the contrasting yet somehow similar events recounted from the point of view of Mr and Mrs Joe Public, it rammed home the message, if it were needed, of how intolerant society is in danger of becoming, how it repeats mistakes through a failure to learn from history and how apathy is the friend of the extremist.
A simple message, delivered with conviction and empathy by two talented and committed actors, this was a timely reminder that theatre has a role in generating a reaction, a response and a discussion about current affairs. Well worth a look.