City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Encounters: Theatre Uncut Review

By Barbara Bryan - Posted on 23 August 2011

Fringe 2011: Theatre Uncut
Show details
Traverse Theatre
Theatre Uncut
Running time: 
Hannah Price - Director: Stewart Laing - Director: writers - Laura Lomas, Dennis Kelly, Andrers Lustgarten, Mark Ravenhill, Jack Thorne, Clare Brennan, Lucy Kirkwood, David Grieg
Selina Boyack, Brian Ferguson, Annie Firbank, Helen Mallon, Kirstin McLean, Jamie Quinn

Theatre Uncut is the brainchild of Hannah Price, artistic director of Reclaim Productions Ltd, who, when the millionaire cabinet of the coalition government announced the draconian cuts they were going to be making in all sections of society, decided to raise awareness via a theatrical event.

She contacted the playwright Mark Ravenhill, one of Britain's top playwrights, and together they managed to persuade a selection of writers to write a short play connected to the cuts. Theatre Uncut was then formed. Writers agreed to contribute work for no fee and this year, on the 19th of March, ninety venues, including living rooms, had a performance of the plays which were on at the Traverse theatre last night.

Theatre has always been used as a vehicle for protest and the selection of plays dealt, in a subtle often humorous way, with issues such as the NHS in Laura Lomas 'Open Heart Surgery'; the police in Dennis Kelly's provocative and at times amusing short play "Things that make no Sense'; Capitalism in Andrew Lustgarten's rant 'The Fat Man'; or post-war ideals in Mark Ravenhill's 'A Bigger Banner' about.

We also had 'Whiff Whaff' by Jack Thorne, an amusing but challenging take on the cuts in mobility allowances for disabled people; 'Hi Vis' by Clare Brennan about health; 'Housekeeping' by Lucy Kirkwood, a disturbing tale about capitalistic manipulation and David Grieg's superb, innovative play 'Fragile' in which the audience, via an autocue, interacts with a character on stage who has mental health issues.

All the plays were performed as rehearsed readings. The acting was excellent - showing great versatility - despite the fact the actors were using scripts. Taking on various parts the cast included Selina Boyack, Brian Ferguson, Annie Firbank, Helen Mallon, Kirstin McLean and Jamie Quinn. It was a thought provoking evening and a marvellous way of reminding us of the effects of the coalition's draconian cuts.

Show: 22 August only

Ticket prices: £10 (£6)