City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bound Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 13 August 2010

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Zoo Southside
Bear Trap Theatre Company
Running time: 
Jesse Briton (writer/director), Joe Darke (director), Lindsay Fraser (producer), Bud Jones (designer).
Jesse Briton (Woods), Joe Darke (Graham), James Crocker (John), Dan Smith (Rhys), James Jaggs (Alan), Tom Bennett (Kerdzic).

“My soul has been torn from me, and I am bleeding
My heart it has been wrent, and I am crying
As the beauty around me fails, and I am screaming
I'm the last of the great whales
And I am dying.”

So sing the burly crew of the fishing trawler “The Violet” as they walk on stage before talking about their somewhat improbable plans to spend the money raised by their latest catch.

But there are a couple of surprises waiting for them on the quayside. One is in the unexpected form of Kerdzic, a Polish agency worker and the other is the news from the boat’s skipper, Woods that the local fish buyer has been forced into administration. The last great whale might be the fishing industry itself.

The world of fishing is an uncertain one – there are no rules, no pensions, no company cars and now, with a £10,000 deficit, it would appear no holidays. The only option seems to be to go back to sea to get a drop on the others. It’s a high risk, win or lose game and as the “New Hope” joins the competition the skippers seem to be the ones playing with cards held close to their chests.

The fishing community is a close knit one and in the even tighter confines of the trawler they are living in the pockets of each other’s sou’westers. There are few secrets – from innocent but incongruous pastimes to family tragedy, failing marriages, fears, sins of the fathers. Naïve Kerdzic is the only outsider, his questions pulling and unravelling the frayed net that holds them together.

In scenes punctuated by sea shanties these pressures and ties are exposed along with the individual characters and histories of the crew. The dialogue is in a naturalistic style swept along with a current of dark humour as they spar and bicker, talking over each other.

They are North West bound, into the teeth of a storm. Bound by family, by community, by need, by tradition, by loyalty, by fear. And by one last secret bound in superstition. Perhaps there was an omen in their opening lyrics, as Leviathan is not simply a whale but the keeper of the gates of hell.

This is great theatre – impeccable performances and simple, effective storytelling that’s hard to fault. While it could be argued that some of the characters or the physicality of the piece could be developed, this is trawling for failings. As this company’s professional debut, and one moreover written and directed from among the cast members, it’s an incredible achievement.

As a footnote, the venue management should address the issue of noise intrusion within the theatre.

6-30 August, 3.45pm

£7.50 (£6.50)