Thursday, May 30

Tag: Summerhall Roundabout

The Last Show Before We Die – Summerhall Roundabout
Scotland

The Last Show Before We Die – Summerhall Roundabout

The Last Show Before We Die was created, written and performed by Mary Higgins and Ell Potter, or Ell and Mary as we know the versions of themselves they present on-stage. They are former lovers, and current (still) best friends, housemates and work partners, whose previous collaborations include FITTER and HOTTER. The latter was the last piece of live theatre this reviewer saw before the first lock-down of the pandemic, which was already making its mark when audience members were encouraged to jump up and dance at the end of the show, but to do it without moving around the theatre or coming into contact with anyone. The history the two performers share (with each other, not with Covid, or me) is central to this show, and obvious whether you know about their previous projects or not...
England & Son: Mark Thomas – Roundabout @ Summerhall
Scotland

England & Son: Mark Thomas – Roundabout @ Summerhall

The lights fail, but Mark Thomas does not. He shines. Performed in characteristically physical style by larger-than-life Cockney, Mark Thomas in this intimate, in the round tent setting, he gets in the mud with us, he lays out Ed Edwards words for us, and we hear them. From humorous tales of his dad’s waste metal business and his dark previous life in the British army colonising the former Malaya, we get a rich understanding of the legalised violence passed down from returning soldiers to their families, and the debilitating effect on abused partners and damaged children. At turns veering from funny to ferocious, Thomas lays out the inevitable path of his childhood, from dysfunctional home life to youth detention centre, courtesy of Home Secretary, Willie Whitelaw’s contro...
Half Empty Glasses – Roundabout @ Summerhall
Scotland

Half Empty Glasses – Roundabout @ Summerhall

After the success of Patricia Gets Ready, Kaleya Baxe returns to direct in collaboration with playwright Baruwa-Etti for a story of friendship, anger and courage where nothing is completely black or white. Half Empty Glasses is a coming-of-age story that explores what it means to step into a world of possibility and begin to see its injustices, deformities and annihilating inequalities, coming face to face with one's own powerlessness for the first time. Hovering between the possibility of a radiant future and a bleak present, overshadowed by his father's degenerative illness, Toye (Samuel Tracy), the true dramatic focus of the play, is filled with a blind rage, toxic even, for those close to him, especially his friends Remi (Princess Khumalo) and Asha (Sara Hazemi). A play that ai...
A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain – Roundabout @ Summerhall
Scotland

A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain – Roundabout @ Summerhall

Sami Ibrahim plays with the fable element to try to give new depth and strength to the old theme of immigration and British imperialism, creating a play that is surreal and cruelly realistic at the same time. The young London playwright tries to add levity and hope to the tale of a precarious, exhausting and irretrievably broken life and to make the injustice of a cruel and impersonal system even more evident through the strong contrast with the fairy-tale element. The play is indeed well written and superbly acted by the three cast members, Sara Hazemi, Princess Khumalo and Samuel Tracy, but at times verbose and unmoving. Ibrahim gets lost in metaphors, double meanings and symbols, and forgets to give us the human element, the only one that can really touch the audience. The story of ...
Hungry – Roundabout at Summerhall
Scotland

Hungry – Roundabout at Summerhall

At the centre of the Roundabout tent, a minimal and effective installation by Paines Plough's production to gather the many pilgrims of the Fringe in a circle, a culinary drama unfolds that uses the metaphor of food to investigate themes such as identity, emotional dependence and cultural appropriation. Although playwright Chris Bush's new play sins by an excess of verbiage, the pièce takes flight thanks to the naturalness and communicative energy of the two lead actresses. An encounter-clash between the insecure and fragile chef Lori, played by Eleanor Sutton, and the grumpy and recalcitrant Bex (Melissa Lowe) at the two extremes of two kitchen trolleys that clash, drift apart and grow closer as their relationship progresses. Of romance, affection or passion there is very little, rele...
Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder – Summerhall Roundabout
Scotland

Kathy and Stella Solve a Murder – Summerhall Roundabout

BFFs Kathy and Stella are true-crime fans hosting a podcast on the subject in Hull. With it, they dream of making the big time (and avoiding their other problems) but their best chance is blown when their favourite investigator-author is murdered. Building on the skills they've no doubt absorbed through osmosis, they resolve to crack the case themselves. Making good use of the venue's theatre-in-the round mise en scene, Bronté Barbé, Rebekah Hinds, Jodie Jacobs, TJ Lloyd and Imelda Warren-Green (in particular) are energetic, funny and likeable, navigating effortlessly between the humour, drama, and, of course, singing, ably accompanied by live keyboards, with the lighting underlining well the mood, punctuating the joke and energising the scene transitions. However, the show is s...