Prague Fringe 2019
Tay, a twenty-year-old aspiring poet, returns home after a year at the University of Glasgow to reconnect with hometown friends in the working-class town of Dundee. She rewrites and sings Abba tunes, does impressions of classic movie stars, and changes characters at a moment’s notice to tell a coming-of-age story in light-hearted, teen movie style with a proud Scots dialect.
Taylor Dyson utilizes an impressive array of theatrical skills to turn the everyday worries of young adult life – “Did my friends miss me enough? Will the bouncer allow my crowd of drunk friends into the bar? When did my little sister stop telling me the details of her life?” – into a fairly entertaining hour of adolescent fun. There are throwaway references to Dundee’s struggles with teenage pregnancy, prevalent drug overdoses, and lack of professional opportunity, but the issues are more of a backdrop to the young locals distracting themselves from these depressing realities. Imagine Trainspotting’s love of drugs and indifference to the future but with more women, less violence, cocaine instead of heroin, and regular poetic interludes.
A few well-placed wall hangings, twinkling lights, and a disco ball help to transport the story from place to place. The small, domed basement of Café Club Míšeňská is transformed into the backseat of a taxi, Tay’s childhood bedroom, Dundee’s nightlife scene, and the drug-fueled hallucinations of her own mind. The soft strumming of a guitar complements and never overpowers the presence of its primary storyteller.
A university-aged crowd or anyone who understands the array of Scottish cultural references are likely to get the most out of this show. Picket’s lilting accent is easy enough to understand through song and storytelling, but a bit of a struggle when she switches into a stronger dialect during poems. I occasionally wished for subtitles to fully appreciate her musings on what it means to be a woman, but caught enough to follow the story. A less abrupt ending that involves any of the numerous characters we meet along the way could provide a more satisfying experience, but this preview performance definitely shows potential.