Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Out of the Bad

Fair Pley/Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions

Genre: Drama, Fringe Theatre, Short Plays, Theatre

Venue: New Town Theatre


Low Down

Mary is trying to deal with a hangover from her Caterpillar sit in reunion when her daughter, unable to get hold of her by phone turns up at the door in a panic. From there we hear about the reunion dinner, the tryst between Mary and Scot and the news from Danni which should bring new hope. Danni though suffers from the worries that anyone who faces the uncertainty of the future may face. By the end all is well and Danni can face things with her mother by her side and people round her, in much the same way that the former workers at Caterpillar were forced to face their future when their occupation ended in failure in the 1987.


We begin with a brief video memory of the caterpillar strike and occupation of 1987 when the resilience and tactics of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders came to Tannochside. It is the starting point for the story and thankfully does not mean we have to revisit the posturing of the times, mainly because what unfolds is more interesting. The occupation marks a time when we had simpler times and easier arguments with politics.

The script does not linger on the strike but brings through the themes and solidarity of the times sharply into focus in a way that helps us understand the effect it had on the community and the people within it. For example, the fact that Mary and Danni’s father did not last the pace is given to us partly because he liked being the big man of the strike but not doing the dirty and donkey work needed to maintain it.

The direction keeps things relatively light though the “secret” Danni has is telegraphed early and it becomes all about how the revelation is handled which makes it all work out perfectly; deft direction.

The set, however, had me pondering where we were. The kitchen looks more 1980’s factory than IKEA of 2017 but perhaps that was on purpose. As a side note, I have bought that couscous.

Lighting and the music of the decade whether sung by Mary and/or Danni or simply played in the background was enough nostalgia for me.

Overall it gave the feel but not the lingering of a relationship that dealt with a great deal of issues over time but had strength in the ability to blurt things out and know that any judgment would be a supportive one. It had enough feel good factor to make the time pass very quickly and I left feeling hopeful that the industrial issues of the past have given us some kind of community for the future.