City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Tiny Dynamite

By Lorraine McCann - Posted on 26 August 2007

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Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group
Running time: 
Claire Wood (director)

Well, you know what they say: “Sometimes it’s better to
travel hopefully than to arrive.” And so it goes with Edinburgh Graduate
Theatre Group’s revival of Abi Morgan’s 2001 hit, “Tiny Dynamite,” a play that
takes you on a curious, absorbing journey that’s a tad more enjoyable than the
ultimate destination.

The story revolves around the lifelong friendship between
two men, Anthony and Lucien. When they were very young, they were caught in a
storm and Anthony was struck (or ‘touched’, perhaps) by lightning, ever since
when he has been rather unstable, wayward, living on the streets and so on.
Anthony, on the other hand, has pursued a more conventional life, working as a
risk-assessor. Also in their past is the figure of a woman they both loved, but
whom they lost when she killed herself. The action of the play takes place many
years later as the two men encounter Madeleine, a young woman who reminds them
of the woman they lost.

The text of the play makes heavy use of many stories that illustrate how huge consequences can flow from tiny coincidences. However, it does this somewhat unimaginatively by having the characters just tell each other facts, as if reading from a newspaper. Thankfully, though, there are also one or two set-piece moments of pure theatre, such as Anthony apparently
catching a bee in his mouth, which work well.

Overall, despite Claire Wood’s sharp direction, this stripped-down production unwittingly exposes Morgan’s text as not much more than a clever sleight of hand that passes off an elliptical style as profundity. While the actors do well with occasionally underwritten roles, the
play too obviously craves charisma to lift these characters beyond being mere
ciphers. As part of a Fringe chock-full of comedy, though, you’ve got to admire
the ambition.