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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Burnt Lavender

Missing Link Theatre

Genre: LGBTQ+ Theatre, Physical Theatre, Theatre

Venue: Greenside at Infirmary Street


Low Down

A homage to the clubs of Pride and the LGBT+ community, this bristles and shimmies onstage with  a variety of different vignettes and stories. With voiceovers and projections reminding us of recent history and how the community has been harried, punished and harangued for decades, this is a fantastic dance piece celebration of all that it means to be queer.


At its heart there is just joy onstage. There is confidence and yes, pride, but what there also is, is pathos. To effectively make your point you have to throw light and shade in equal measure and whether it is watching the duos or group lip syncs, this has the desperately sad reminiscences along with the incredibly powerful performances. In terms of its structure this hangs or loses by way of communicating its meaning and we have a voiceover sending out the authoritarian messages, telling our cast that they need to behave in a  certain way. You could imagine these as notes at the end of a performance, but they are instructions for life dressed up to fit the theatrical setting. And everybody is listening, paying attention and ignoring those instructions – meaning that we get the light blindingly taking out the dark.

As a student piece there are a few performances which dip a little in comparison to the rest, but these are more than forgivable. Whenever they happen the performer finds support around them and picks it right back up again. It has been directed with that in mind and seeing anyone onstage dancing with their leg in a brace is going to feel impressive in and of itself!

The effects that worked really well were looking at the whole issue of conversion therapy and I loved the way in which it was brought out and then dealt with – so effective and condemning. The idea of anyone who follows religious teaching looking so hard to punish and judge someone is here, for many seem in the cast familiar. It should, of course, be totally alien, illegal and contrary to any teachings based on any religious text.

Musically this was a fast paced and tempo driven piece of theatre. It pumped its beats out and it made us all ebb and flow as it wished us to.

The set was a technical joy. I loved the doors and their sassy curtains. It spoke again to how clubs were established to be seen by many who should find solace within but be hidden from those who would be likely to be upset by it. And so, they should be…

But the tremendously creative thing about the set was the way in which it was used. The neon lighting, the use of the curtains and the way they moved round the stage made these doors more than an entrance. It made them a gateway. It was delightful.

Overall, this was a really dynamic piece which touched upon the issue and never ran away from it. This young group of students have clearly put the work in but have also been guided towards the creation of quite a masterful, though not flawless, piece of work that tips the hat at the past and shines a light to the future.