City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mule, Gilded Balloon, Fringe Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 14 August 2016

Show details
Running time: 
Kat Woods (writer and director), Carrie Shearman (video design), Stephanie Prior (photographer)
Aoife Lennon and Edith Poor

Kat Woods, acclaimed Irish writer of Belfast Boy and Wasted, returns to this year’s Fringe with her new play Mule, a story inspired by the true story of two young women known as the ‘Peru Two’ who were arrested in August 2013 on a charge of drug trafficking and sentenced to 6 years in a Lima prison.

The tacky job of learning to dance for money to appease the lascivious punters while cheating them out of cash by serving fake shots in an Ibiza bar seems almost innocent compared to how the lives of these two young women end up.

Woods uses what looks like her trademark style with just one or two actors on stage with the capacity to morph through characters, both male and female. In this case, Aoife Lennon and Edith Poor switch convincingly through an array of accents and actions, from relatives of the women to Spanish security and prison guards and an English journalist.

The actors have only two chairs as props and are dressed in black, casual, rehearsal style clothes, yet bring Woods’ graphic description in her complex text of their horrific living conditions to life.

Their terror and panic as realization dawns is palpable (all done despite jangling sounds from adjacent venue -the joys of the Fringe!) This time, thanks to video design from Carrie Shearman, text messages appear on a screen telling parts of the story and showing the trolls’ reactions to their judgment.

Whatever the truth of this story – the corruption of a naïve and malleable young woman and her more worldly ‘new best pal’ as decoys for the safe run of other smugglers or a calculated risk on behalf of a hard headed pair with an eye on the main chance – is not the point here. The characters develop a friendship and sorority that only an experience such as theirs could bring about. Woods exposes these complexities and just lets the audience observe, and think.

3 – 29 August at 1.30pm (not 17)