FringeReview Scotland 2018
Katie, from the outside looking in, is a bright young thing with her clarinet in hand and her hopes and dreams; nothing more or less than you would expect from a girl in her later teenage years whilst her boyfriend, Abe is all hormones and bad guy image. On the walk home from school being interrupted by an Ickie cyclist leads to both being drawn into a chase that shows us that women, from the inside looking out, are not as empowered as we hoped, people are as scared as we thought and the future needs to be brightened otherwise our legacy may be tarnished.
First produced in 2011 this is an early piece of work by Thorne who has gone on to such heights as Kiri, National Treasure and the Last Panthers for TV; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Let the Right One In and Junkyard for theatre. (I have a special reason for mentioning Junkyard – more of that laters). It holds up well and Thorne has given us
To go back in time to 2011 does not feel at all laboured and what Thorne has shown is a deft skill in not only capturing the angst of youth but also the struggles they face. In a time when the objectification and assaults on women does not stop the highest level of government being democratically reached by a questionable misogynist, it is hard to see how you would draw hope from the current outlook; Thorne’s piece does not bring comfort. The script is well structured and gives one actor the opportunity to showcase their storytelling with pathos here, comic timing required there and overall an opportunity and challenge to keep a group of strangers with you throughout.
Anna Russell-Martin manages to do that in most part. This is a very assured performance from a young performer I was privileged to see in the Wonderful World of Dissocia for the RCS, where she is a final year student. For a student to show that she could take on this work professionally and do so at such a level is comforting for the future of the craft whilst the subject matter may be uncomfortable for those of us with daughters of a similar age.
Russell-Martin showed an array of skills but at 80 minutes there was a little flagging towards the end. Whether due to her lack of experience in being able to just measure her delivery in a manner which was wider in terms of scope or force is questionable but there was certainly steam lost towards the end.
Theatrically it was a performance where the deft touches of lighting and sound added to the overall feeling of being part of an exploration of times that are not a changing fast enough.
This was testimony to the fact that Thorne has a very clear voice in theatre that is about the dispossessed and those who may struggle with making themselves be heard. On that basis being involved in the commercial run away success of Harry Potter may seem like an odd fit but long may that success allow him to continue to make work like this and previous cutting edge explorations. I had previously seen Junkyard cos my son was in it and it was an introduction to Thorne’s work that drew me to see this and enjoy it just as much.
Drawing in a student was a bold move for the Tron but with an assured performer such as Russell-Martin they had someone well capable of delivering a great performance that still serves as a very distinct warning today. It also shows the very real merit in second runs and opportunities given to take recent plays out the cupboard and give them an airing.