City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Precious Little Talent Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 07 August 2009

Fringe 2009: Precious Little Talent
Show details
Bedlam Theatre
Tantrums Ltd.
Running time: 
Ella Hickson (Writer / Director), Polly Bennett (Assistant Director), Jess Winch (Press)
George (John McColl), Sam (Simon Ginty), Joey (Emma Hiddleston)

A surprisingly articulate New York teenager muses on a chance encounter. A crotchety old man rails against the dying of his light, while his estranged daughter seeks to find the hero she still hopes is inside.

Ella Hickson pitches her craft toward difficult territory and comes close to a secure landfall. ‘Precious Little Talent' is a bold gambit of a title, but Hickson's literate and humane script and the craft and integrity of her cast amply justify its use.

Sam (Simon Ginty) acts as part-time carer and full-on cynic to the ailing George (john McColl), marooned in New York. George's daughter, Joey (Emma Hiddleston) arrives for Christmas and in hopes of some sort of reconciliation. What might in lesser hands form a slight storyline criss-crossing generational divides is given point and punch through Hickson's relentless search for meaning.

Examining the essential differences of the U.S. and U.K. (Hickson would almost certainly insist on ‘England' here), debating the nature of optimism and heroism and the heroic in the everyday, the script's ambitions dunts its head against the banality of our tragic-comic dailiness and the restrictions of the one-hour traffic of the Fringe stage. Which, of course, is a form of heroism in itself.

The playing of McColl, Ginty and Hiddleston matches the material with which they work, and they give it full measure. It's always a pleasure to discover a script where the characters are so deftly sketched actors can craft their characters fully and toward the audience.

Hickson (and her company) clearly has a future, which ‘Precious Little Talent' clearly demonstrates. If there's a niggle, it lies with the demands and constraints of contemporary (certainly British) theatre, where small and perfectly formed (and performed) pieces come to be all that is expected and can be accepted. Hickson and her contemporaries deserve more space and time to explore themes such as these.

7-29 August (Not Suns)

The play will be everyday except Sundays  at 2.30 - 3.30