Emerging theatre company Blazing Hyena is new but mighty. For The Love Of Cousins unfolds the moment all too familiar when cousins, now grown up and immersed in their own lives, differing upbringings, rivalries, and insecurities come together for the tragic family event of Grannie Annie’s funeral. Rooted in character more so than plot, this piece speaks to the different ways people grieve and to the “cousin-dynamic,” the curious way that extended family can feel like a muscle that hasn’t been flexed in some time, but supports and strengthens in times of need.
Punchy For The Love Of Cousins keeps a lively energy throughout, with new introductions and outbursts via the staging by director Catherine Expósito. Despite the large cast, nothing gets lost in the shuffle, and the seeming constant motion feels purposeful rather than arbitrary. Tactful blocking is a strength throughout Blazing Hyena’s work so far; their use of space embraces the specific challenges and opportunities that intimate venues and pub theatre can present and constructs worlds that feel realised and visceral.
This comedic crucible that is Gran’s funeral fleshes out a strong identity for each role, although some characters are stronger than others. Inspired by his actual cousins, the overall shining star is Jack Elliot’s writing. The volleying dialogue is confident and genuine with a cadence waxing and waning between comedy and connection. It all just feels very organic.
The smart script succeeds especially through the the timing, banter and chemistry of the cousins. Rosie Milne in particular pulls in the right bite to bring brazen, nearly out-of-the-closet Dayna to full light. Gillian Goupillot's devil-may-care, irreverent Ronnie enters later in the play, her obvious drug abuse serving up a bit more chaos before the funeral begins. The rivalry between brothers David (Jack Elliot) and Teddy (Jack Jarvis Gouther) as well as the ongoing tension between David and Dayna are relationships that feel more matured and farther along than the dynamics between the other characters at this stage of the play’s run.
Relatable, enjoyable, and sharp, For The Love Of Cousins is described as a one-act comedy that explores ‘what happens when a family has to pull together- or fall apart.’ A win for Blazing Hyena, this piece certainly holds a firm place in their focus on new vision, new talent, and new writing. With such a strong forefront, it is clear that there is more valuable and substantial work to be seen from this theatre company.
Tickets (£10) can be reserved at http://www.blazinghyena.com/tour-2017.html to be purchased at the door.
Saturday 20th May 19:30 - North Berwick Yacht Club
Saturday 27th May 19:30 - Nelson Hall, South Queensferry
Thursday 1st June 19:30 - The Merlin, Morningside
Friday 9th June 19:30 - The Albany, Greenock (https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/GJGHMH)
Friday 16th June 19:30 - Hunters Hall, Kirkcaldy
Saturday 24th June 19:30 - Wauchope Hall, Yetholm