City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Pint Dreams Review

By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 23 August 2013

Pint Dreams - Elena, "Edith" and David on guitar
Show details
The Antiquary
Tin Box Theatre Company
Running time: 
Jo Gleave and Jo Newman (directors)
Elena Voce Siriani, David Gray

Tin Box is a Birmingham based company which creates shows based on storytelling, visual theatre and site-specific performances.

Pint Dreams is a witty title for their new Pub Theatre show which, after touring from Birmingham to Brighton, has now travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Named after Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Antiquary is a cosy, snug basement pub on St. Stephen’s Street, (known locally as the Tic) in the urban village of Stockbridge. So the perfect venue for a gripping tale of adventure and romance.

The audience is given a programme and beer mat, with the suggestion we might like to buy a pint or drink at the bar. We are then shown into the curtained-off wood panelled back room lined with tables and chairs.

A guitarist, David Gray sits at the far end singing some traditional songs. Elena Voce Siriani welcomes us all, commenting that original folk music is better suited to a pub atmosphere, rather than pop songs by Rihanna.

Our small hesitant group is encouraged to sing along to Wild Rover for a few choruses, before Elena eventually begins to relate her exciting travels which began two years ago. (She is apparently playing the role of Maggie although I did not hear her introduce herself).

We hear about her meeting Edith, a gypsy lady who had tired of her Romany life on the road and decided to stay in one place and settle down at an Inn, the Travellers’ Rest.

She fumbles inside a small leather bag and with some difficulty lifts out a papier mache and wooden puppet dressed in a lace-fringed skirt, shawl and gold earring - Edith “in person”. (Perhaps a larger vintage leather suitcase would be easier to carry her).

Edith’s romantic encounters and family life are told in a long winded, convoluted story, dramatised with puppet hand gestures while her sculptured face turns with wide, sad hollow eyes to watch us.

There’s a good deal of interaction with the audience. After being placed on people’s shoulders and knees, Edith is curiously abandoned on the lap of the girl beside me who is not sure what to do.

At key moments, David is asked if he could perhaps kindly play a gypsy tune and add sound effects to illustrate a stormy night. I don’t understand why he can’t play this music on cue, without interrupting the narrative flow.

Suddenly Edith is packed away in the bag and Maggie waves farewell to continue her journey. We finish our drinks with the accompaniment of a final folk tune.

As an actress, Elena Voce Siriani is surprisingly a very tentative storyteller, lacking any sense of dramatic tension or expressive range of emotion. The tedious script doesn’t help. Overall, a casually constructed, contrived performance - this fantasy of an entertainment is more of a pipe dream.

To charge £7.50 for this unimaginative 25 minute show is outrageous. They could at least have thrown in a pint!

Show times

22 - 25 August, 2013: 14.30, 16.30, 18.30.

Ticket price