City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

When We Embraced Review


By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 06 August 2013

3
Show details
Company: 
FallenFromGrace in association with ARC Stockton.
Running time: 
60mins
Production: 
Tom Walton (writer), Annabel Turpin (producer).
Performers: 
Tom Walton

Imagine you are in a theatre, there are rows of festoon lights above your head giving a carnival feel. There is a spotlit wooden chair on which sits an amplifier. That's it.

No, that really is it. The description of the theatre and the audience in it comes disembodied from the speaker. We learn that we are buoyant and supportive and, as the unseen narrator gives us permission we can break down that usual social etiquette; look at each other, perhaps even imagine holding hands?

The voice, as soothing as a self-help CD, can fill our minds with whatever the story teller wants. The man in the second row is apparently thinking about mud-wrestling and the way his dad talks to cats. Some of the audience have greater roles to play. Some will have seemingly random thoughts or stare at the stars, and then there are the "hero" and the "extraordinary ordinary man" who will meet and take a journey, sometimes mundane, towards each other and a better understanding of themselves.

In reality what is required of the audience is small, perhaps raise a hand or stand up, but in the absence of any actors these actions seem more significant, embodying the nature of the words spilling from the stage. Surely these people are remarkable? Just our presence in the theatre, on this day fills the room with something. Potential, perhaps even hope?

We may be puppets for the Oz behind the curtains but he has a heart and we are treated gently. There is nothing cringe-worthy about the process and the inner thoughts seemingly exposed are sometimes poetic, often funny and usually frankly bizarre. The land that we inhabit feels a bit like a cat-obsessed Lake Wobegon.

It's a testament to the writing that we can be engaged by an empty stage, but when not dealing with "our" ersatz thoughts some of themes, ranging from sunspots to flight, while gracefully handled, seem to add little to the narrative.

This is a brave, unique and damn near huggable show, full of potential if you are willing to embrace it.

Show times: 3, 4 and 6, 7 August 2013, 11.30am.

Ticket price: £11 (£8).