Waiting in a rain pelted marquee with technicians setting up lighting, front of house staff bustling around and leading the audience to the improvised space that is C ECA (Edinburgh College of Art), there was a real feeling of Fringe first day rawness. The bleak burst of weather inadvertently had set the tone for this piece of new writing by Sam Siggs.
The catalyst of an assault on the one female character, Faye, (Kate Milne) in this cast of six sets off a series of interactions that expose the confusion of their relationships and leads to violence and despair. The play takes the form of a series of scenes with various combinations of the cast on stage, mostly two at a time, showing the dynamics of each set of relationships. The set is stark with only a single lilac door and matching sofa.
Sam Siggs has recorded acutely heard dialogue in this drama with chippy sauce references placing it firmly in the East Coast. That apart, the issues are not specific to this area or arguably Scotland although Scots’ reputation for dourness is not helped in this piece of writing. Even positive things were said with anger. Apart from the loud nervous laughter throughout from a couple of audience members that thankfully did not distract this young cast on their debut Fringe show, the audience had little to smile about in this play. It was full of inconclusive heid bustin interactions dealing with persecution, guilt, distress, anger, negativity, revenge and ultimately violence. Siggs has captured the language and turns of phrase for his characters in this very male play but its lack of relief and redemption made it relentlessly bleak.
The play felt a bit disjointed and may have benefitted from being a bit shorter. However, this was an impressive debut from both the writer and cast, each of whom show potential in their own right but Sean Langtree as Stuart showed particular promise.
New Celts Productions is a joint venture between Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University, which have collaborated on their new joint BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen programme, the first graduates of which have just finished this year. This production represents the culmination of that training and will showcase the talent of emerging young professional theatre makers.
Show times: 3-27 August, 16:50
Ticket prices: £7.50 - £11.50