City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Thingummy Bob, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 31 October 2015

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Lung Ha
Linda McLean (writer), Maria Oller (director), Phillip Pinsky (composer), Karen Tennant (designer)
Kenneth Ainslie (nurse, neighbour, policeman and invisible dog), John Edgar (Bob), Mark Howie (Cap), Emma McCaffrey (Gemma), Karen Sutherland (Lesley, Binox)
Running time: 

Jim is searching for his thingummy. He can’t seem to find it no matter where he looks, and isn’t sure quite what it was in the first place.

Lung Ha’s ‘Thingummy Bob’ takes a quirky look at a place most of us don’t want to acknowledge – the ever shrinking space we may all of us find ourselves in as our minds and bodies deteriorate toward the point where we will have no need of them.

The gaze of ‘Thingummy Bob’ toward things yet to come is unflinching but only occasionally grim.

John Edgar’s Bob is both touchingly gentle and annoyingly bolshy by turns, his musical memories his principal connection to his fading past, and even though his bids for freedom and re-connection ultimately fail, his character is in no way diminished by this.

Emma McAffrey and Mark Howie create a strikingly original form of double act as Bob’s concerned friends and neighbours, Karen Sutherland ably doubles as Bob’s Australian-domiciled niece and a speaking security camera, while Kenneth Ainslie works hard in his multiple roles as nurse, neighbour, policeman and invisible dog.

Bob’s internal multiverse of past moments and connections which seem like so many free-floating butterflies he reaches toward but never fully grasps is ably conveyed not only by the actor and other cast members, but also though Philip Pinsky’s unobtrusive score and Karen Tennant’s striking set, putting this reviewer in mind (as was surely the intention) of the mind-adjusting works of artists such M.C Escher, whilst also functioning efficiently for ‘Thingummy Bob’s’ several changes of location.

‘Built to tour’ as they say, ‘Thingummy Bob’ clearly deserves to reach wider audiences, and to be seen by the families and friends of those with learning disabilities now moving into the latter stages of their lives, for this is a production which, as previously suggested, does not duck the downside but yet celebrates what remains as we face the final curtain.

On tour

Eden Court, Inverness: 3 November, 2015

Platform - The Bridge, Glasgow: 5 - 6 November, 2015