Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Sorcha loves weddings. Just like all the other girls in the parish, she’s been dying for her big day since forever and ever. The thing is… she has just run away from her own reception. Perched on the edge of her perfectly planned life, Sorcha is pure ragin’ at the dawning reality that she has never really listened to herself. Can she ever go back? A tale of fighting for love (literally) in rural Ireland and a lifelong quest to settle down.
Sorcha arrives breathless, in her wedding dress, she has fled her own wedding reception and isn’t sure she can return. Over the next hour she shares the highs and lows of her journey with Marty, her childhood sweetheart and dependable , from school to altar. And it hasn’t all been plain sailing, she has literally fought for her man.
She has been planning this wedding for years, probably since before puberty. Every detail has been thought of, from the ground work (you need to know which jeweller to prepare and steer him to) to ensure the right engagement ring ends up in Marty’s pocket to the flowers on the day. Planning a wedding is like to war she tells us, and, as she hurtles into the intricate machinations of ensuring that the proposal, and thus the engagement, and thus the photograph, would be just right and in time for Christmas we are already breathless. Gradually she unwinds the story of their courtship, their engagement, family and village life around them, to this moment. The moment when she wonders…
In this, her writing debut, Sarah-Jane Scott also plays Sorcha. The script offers biting wit and some uneasy insights, briefly glimpsed by Sorcha, into the still very traditional ways of life in rural Ireland. Her sharp asides are a joy, capturing the essence of an unseen character in just a phrase – ‘he’ll be English’ with just enough of a fleeting eyebrow that we can see him perfectly. The razor sharp humour is tempered with darker moments that serve to balance the whole.
The only set is a square of carpet and an armchair – simple and effective although it did leave me wondering where we were in relation to the reception; locating the story firmly in a place such as a cloakroom or an ante room of some sort would make the moments when she takes us out on to the cliffs, to her childhood home, or to the scene of the dramatic debs more vivid.
Scott’s performance and storytelling is faultless, not a word out of place, and delivered at a cracking pace. She creates each of numerous characters with a gesture or shift in accent or voice and allows the darker moments time to sink in.
The Anatomy Lecture Theatre was, in some ways, a very appropriate setting for Appropriate – the play does dissect not only the relationship but many of Ireland’s enduring social mores and expectations (despite the advent of Instagram). The downside is that it is also very echoey and the sheer pace of some of the delivery meant that I missed a few of the delicious lines.
It offers not only Sorcha’s story but an education in rural Irish weddings through the medium of a simple tale told at a cracking pace with depth, style, and biting wit.