City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Believe - Linda Marlowe

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 13 August 2007

Show details
Traverse Theatre
LMP and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.
Running time: 
Gavin Marshall (director), Matthew Hurt (writer), Jacqui Chan (choreographer), Mishi L. B. (lighting), Deeperred (sound)
Linda Marlowe

'Believe' opens and closes in a war zone, and all of Linda Marlowe's characterisations are women struggling to come to terms with brutal and brutalising situations.

Rahab is a whore whose heart of gold leads her to betray her people in return for a dubious promise of safe conduct. Bathsheba is an army wife explaining away infidelity in a clipped upper class accent, her concern over good works a displacement of guilt and pain. Judith, on the other
hand appears clear-eyed and fully conscious of the horror of what she does and
its consequences, and Hannah holds the unflinching gaze of the true believer as
she encourages each of her seven sons toward the martyrdom she herself will
also suffer.

A nodding acquaintance at least with the literature from
which these very different stories spring would probably help any audience
member, as they are presented as discreet in themselves, although this is
clearly a deliberate move. Instead of the narrative spine of the Old Testament,
we are presented with the fragmented sound-bites which make up contemporary
news and our views of an on the world.

Writer Matthew Hurt's conceit is an interesting one. In part
it works, setting these four characters' experiences in the context of an
unnamed but continuing struggle, from which there is no release or remission
for any of them. However, anger alone is never enough, and with no consistent
context for the characters outwith this nameless hell, our sympathies for their
different plights is dissipated into a 'war is hell' sort of platitude.

Linda Marlowe is a consistently excellent performer, and
draws a great deal from the characters she portrays. Hers is acting near the
peak of the craft, rarely overstated or less than subtle. Despite this hard
work, however, and a script which in itself offers her considerable
opportunities, 'Believe' ultimately fails to engage.

Times: 2-26 August (not Mondays), times vary (see Fringe and Traverse programmes for details)

Copyright Bill Dunlop 2007, published on 2007