City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Breaking the Ice, A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Review


By Irene Brown - Posted on 04 October 2016

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Breaking the Ice image by Leslie Black.jpg
Show Details
Venue: 
Traverse Theatre
Company: 
Òran Mór and the Traverse Theatre and part of Dancing with Colours, Whipping with Words: Dario Fo and Political Theatre
Production: 
Tony Cownie (director) Kieran Lynn (writer), Kenneth MaLeod(designer),Andy Cowan (sound designer), Ross Kirkland /Chris Reilly (lighting design)
Performers: 
Steven McNicoll (Frank Montgomery) Jimmy Chisholm (various characters), Nicola Roy (various characters)
Running time: 
55mins

A hot topic in a cold climate.

We are at a 5star hotel in Alaska where a conference involving the eight nations that border the Arctic is being hosted. UK scientist Frank Montgomery (Steven McNicoll) is due to make a speech to the assembled dignitaries but has found he’s left it on the plane that’s now headed back on its return journey. On top of that, he’s spilled an indulgent tub of yogurt down his only suit so is stuck in his pants, shoes and socks and a hotel bathrobe.

Steven McNicoll is a star turn as he narrates and acts out the adventures of his luckless character Montgomery, who cares more about the lack of tea and pastries than the development of the Arctic, delivering comic lines and puns to the delight of much of the lunchtime audience. He is the Northern star to the array of shifting characters that cross his path. Jimmy Chisholm and Nicola Roy, with their usual consummate skill, smoothly take on the roles and accents of English and Russian diplomats; a giant weed selling storeman; a Lancashire maintenance man; a Sami policeman; a local waitress; a US Marine; a London telephonist; and a pair of deep green kidnapping masked militants - all mouthpieces for an array of agendas.

The scene changes are shown by Arctic wind sounds and a version of the Northern Lights swirling across Traverse 2 which is effective enough but what springs to mind is that this play could work as an effective Radio drama rather than a stage play. We have a sterling cast under Tony Cownie’s direction yet this farce comes across as a heavy handed attempt at making light of a serious topic.

This first play in this season’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint at the Traverse is part of the theatre’s programme Dancing with Colours, Whipping with Words: Dario Fo and Political Theatre that celebrates the political work of artist and theatre maker Dario Fo and his late wife Franca Rame by focussing on current artists who make challenging art .

Tue 4 – Sat 8 Oct, 1pm; Fri 7 Oct, 1pm & 7pm Age Recommend 14+

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