Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh International Conference Centre
August 18th to 25th (except 21st) 19.30
August 20 and 24 14.30
August 26th 12.00 and 16.00
This is a cracking show that sparkles with ideas, energy and innovation.
The set is simple and is very creatively used. We have two Scottish guys discussing what is and is not Scottish. They are joined by an American tourist, and there follows discussion of American life, plus the enactment of attitudes to guns and protection of property. We also hear about the Jacobite rebellion of’45, the Highland clearances, the taking of the American west, the abuse of settlers, plus a terrific environmental climax.
This gives you no idea of the power of the show, which has to be experienced. Continually present are musicians Annie Grace, Cat Myers and Maya Sharpe, who add a further dimension to the performance, enlivening and deepening the experience. Brian Ferguson as Brian and Sandy Grierson as Iain spark off each other and create a succession of scenes, and when they meet and name Red (Jessica Almasy) a new and powerful international element comes into play.
With a sparse set, – a bar, lots of whiskey, a hole and soil, a detachable wall and little else, we are taken to two continents and explore significant aspects of history and parallels between different societies that rest on a similar capitalist premise. This may sound a touch heavy, but the whole thing, which is in a sense epic, also has a lightness of touch and is continually entertaining. Much of the show’s strength comes from the sharp characterisation and the fine acting of the cast, plus the rich and appropriate musical accompaniment.
I did feel that the structure of the play was not perfect. It is good to have a reflective final section, but I was not entirely convinced by the ending, and there is a health issue which does not seem fully integrated.
However, these are small caveats, and I would wholly recommend this as a show that will delight and amuse, at the same time as provoking more thought and discussion about the world we live in than half a dozen other shows.