Edinburgh Fringe 2018
We have four people onstage, the innocent 17 year old child sent by father to a Mrs Robinson, the harassed mother at home in a Scottish working class setting and two characters set to be corrupted, one of whom in a set of tennis whites gives us the air of coming of age that has corruption set right at its centre.
The original eight had eight monologues and the audience voted on the four they would like to see. This morning we have no such vote and we get what we are given; no bad thing as it turns out. With each monologue there are strengths that are evident from an enthusiastic young company that clearly take their craft seriously. I enjoyed their verve but technically there were a few issues.
Our Millie has the accent, the unshockable approach to the family business of escorting whilst there is a sadness in her state of the nation address. This does need though, an experience campaigner who brings knowledge to the role and at times there is insufficient evidence of this in the performance. It is a decent fist and all plaudits are there but along with a direction which appears clumsy at times, the performance does not quite shock in the way intended.
Jude seems to have suffered the most bizarre fate of all as his father sends him into the arms of a woman who will make him a “man”. Here the match between age and stage is hit bang on with our actor and you get the idea that here is an innocent that has been sent abroad for training. It needs more undulation and variance in the vocal representation of the character but overall it shows why matching the age range is important.
This is also true of our Mona who probably represents the most up to date parenting style which is all in the future to come. We have the parents of the previous two having left their indelible mark on their offspring and here we have someone with it all in front of her. Again the technique in direction marks this as one where the style though consistent is beginning to feel stuck in one place and unable to give each character a distinct skin in which to live. The performance is good and shows a level of ability that would take a more demanding role.
It ends with a decent Edinburgh accent that still slips on occasion and for Scottish ears will grate a little. Bobby and her weans are right out of Craigmillar and here we get angst and anger in equal measure delivered well enough but again it suffers a little from a lack of inspiration in its direction.
The set is functional and there is little need for anything more than we have with lighting used to signify changes and music brought in to signify the end of each monologue.
I remain impressed by the ability of this young company to chose challenging work and not sit back and try the tried and trusted youth company standards but push their boat out. Here it mostly comes off and we get an engaging time in their space. Their performances overall are good and make for a decent theatrical experience but at times the script is a little beyond them through no fault of their own such as playing a 30 year old when nowhere near that age is a challenge that can be beyond most of us. As a learning curve this young company will have enjoyed the experience and I look forward to keeping my eye out for what comes next.