FringeReview Scotland 2018
The Boy is only 12 and on the run. The Father has been running his whole life and the whole parts of his life are on display in a dilapidated caravan, the multiple bottles of Frosty Jack and the debris of the sum total of nothing; and you are welcome to your fair share. The confusion of the boy gets played out as it infects The Father who thinks he may be reconnecting with his own son before the boy leaves and the debris continues, the Frosty Jack remains and the questions are left hanging in the air like minging washing, out on the line for all to tut at and see.
The care system is broken. I should know, I work in it. The authentic voice of The Boy carries weight because I have heard it in a multitude of accents over the years. His confusion at the beginning as he tries to find something to eat whilst trying not to wake The Father up but to wake up him up at the same time is very accurate.
Once The Father is up, his twin role of trying to get rid of the boy and also look after him in a broken down fatherly way is similarly an accurate depiction of the alcoholic stupor of how men, not just of a certain age, find themselves having to find a way but not remembering if they ever had a path.
With the script able to tiptoe round this quagmire of a relationship we have, in the year of the young person a touching and effective performance from Ashleigh More. She does more than just show up the system for where a 12 year old can go missing but there is no helicopter in the sky, no mass movement of the community to find her and where on Facebook, on a daily basis, you can see the requests for information after a wee girl goes missing from Hamilton, Banchory or Buchan. But this nuanced performance is given a platform thanks to an equally subtle performance from David McKay. MacKay brings a lot of experience onto the stage to avoid the clichés and the tumbles and the drunk nonsense that would not help the narrative – his crafted support is exemplary.
There are at times, however, where some dips in the pace could do with being steadied but the combination of an impressive set from Katy Wilson, the lighting and the craws that are brought through the screens make this an impressive package. Heather Fulton, Xana Marwick and Rosie Kellagher are to be commended on producing such an effective voice of those we struggle to see because as The Boy says they are anonymous.
Often we get, for celebrations, Festivals or the Years of foci, a worthy or preachy piece that does not tell the tale or tells us what to think. The strength of Nests is that it delivers a difficult tale without simplifying it. This is neither an easy watch nor is it full of answers but does that thing that theatre does well – asks the horrible questions in ways that it makes it hard to avoid and difficult to contemplate without giving a little of ourselves away. I loved this because it challenged me, and I live with some of the issues every day – get along and get challenged and join the debate to find a solution.