City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Bubble Revolution, New Town Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 15 August 2016

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New Town Theatre
Polish Theatre Ireland
Running time: 
Anna Wolf (director)
Kasha Lech

‘Bubble Revolution’ claims to be ‘a fairytale about growing up during and after the fall of communism in Poland’.

Up to a point this may be so, but it’s a fairytale with some glaring gaps and obvious elisions, and so far as ‘Bubble Revolution’ has a narrative thread, it’s a somewhat slender and self-obsessed one.

Focused on the experiences of one character, it necessarily becomes one-dimensional to a degree. Jaruselski and Walensa become characterised by singular characteristics and the complexities of the negotiations that brought an end to the ‘state of war’ regulations by which Poland had been governed and ushered in a new more representative administration are passed over in comparative silence.

A childhood obsession with bubble gum may be a metaphor for the consumerism that pervaded Polish society in the immediately pre and post Solidarity period, but is never seriously examined.

Instead we are treated to an account of what feels to have a childhood and adolescence lived largely in thrall to confectionary, whether of the actual or socio-political kind.

There is something of a metaphor here, of course, though it’s rather deeply buried amidst a phantasmagoric meditation on commercial confectionary. Like any sweetmeat, the sense of gratification induced by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe led to both a sense of disappointment that the lives of the many did not immediately improve and subsequently to dissatisfaction as governments succumbed to the siren calls of neo-liberal economic thought coming from the West.

As revolutions edge into being accepted, compromise becomes essential, and the resulting tensions the stuff of drama. ‘Bubble Revolution’, however, might fare well enough on the ‘dinner-theatre’ circuit of the United States (one rather suspects among both Trump and Clinton supporters alike), especially with its use of some Americanised terminology where matters such as school years are concerned, but it lacks the bite and sharp-eyed clarity of much of contemporary Polish art.

The story of post-communist Poland requires a better re-telling than that presented here.

Times: 3-28 August (not 16) 1.45pm. £7-£10.50 (Friends of Fringe 2 for 1 discount available)