City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Hold, NMS, Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 13 March 2014

Young Peter (Derek Darvell).jpeg
Show Details
Lung Ha’s Theatre Company in collaboration with National Museums Scotland
Adrian Osmond (writer), Maria Oller (director), Kenneth Dempster (composer and musical director) Janis Claxton (choreographer), Karen Tennent (designer), Jeanine Davies (lighting designer), Douglas Jones (photo)
Stephan Tait (Professor Stone), Nicola Tuxworth (Alice), John Edgar (Peter), Teri Robb (Sally), Mark Howie (William), Derek Darvell (Young Peter), Emma McCaffrey (Bridget), Jack McClure (Benjamin), Leigh Flynn,Colin McIlveney, Keith Watson, Kay Ann Jacobs and Kenny Ainslie (ushers) and other members of the company. Gemma Connor (cello), Laura Ciofi (flute), Anna Wright (saxophone), Pierre Louis Attard (violin), Ryan Penman (clarinet)
Running time: 

Mementos heavy with memory are the subject of this latest poignant promenade piece from Lung Ha.

With the National Museum of Scotland’s ancient collections as the backdrop, the play uses the story of Peter (John Edgar), a man who obsessively hordes souvenirs of events in his life that are laden with Proustian triggers, to question the value of objects.

Peter has carefully catalogued these items that silently record his past and inadvertently hold him to it. Weighed down by the sadness of the loss of his wife and son he decides at the end of his life to let go of the past by donating them to the Museum as his own piece of personal posterity and move on with some peace of mind.

Some of the cast convincingly masquerade as museum visitors at the start and end of the show and Bridget (Emma McCaffrey) is the frantic Mum so involved in making calls on her mobile that she loses her child, setting the tone for the theme of loss.

The site specific performance in a variety of spaces is a directorial challenge that is ably executed by Maria Oller. The audience is split into a blue or gold group and herded politely and efficiently throughout the NMS by the tartan sashed ushers. The groups are given strict orders by the tweed jacketed, bow tied Professor Stone (Stephan Tait). They have to look out for the blue or gold sashes worn by the group guides and follow them as instructed. Tait punctuates the show with his powerful presence and brings his own brand of authority to the role of the ‘very, very busy’ administrator. Nae messin! His remote filmed lecture when the groups are gathered to assess the ‘things’ they had been given at the start was pure Big Brother.

The narrative seems deliberately vague as to whether Peter abandoned his wife and child or they abandoned him, but either way his pain was movingly shown by John Edgar. His past is portrayed through different ages as ghosts manifest in the form of his younger self played with strength by Derek Darvell. Nicola Tuxworth portrays his wife Alice with a fine ephemeral playfulness.

This affirming and affecting piece that deals with what it means to lose something or someone is accompanied throughout by beautiful music from the five musicians who appeared almost mystically at each venue. The audience is held from start to finish and leave with a fittingly designed programme and thoughts of what is valuable.

Since 1985, Lung Ha has been producing a wide variety of theatrical work that lives up to their mission statement of ‘enabling inclusion in theatre’.

The Hold is supported by BBC Performing Arts Fund, The City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland and The Co-operative Membership Community Fund.

Show times

Thursday 13 March 3.00pm & 7.30pm
Friday 14 March 11.30am & 3.00pm
Saturday 15 March 3.00pm & 7.30pm
Sunday 16 March 11.30am & 3.00pm



Box Office: 0300 123 6789

Age suitability 12+.