Theatre Uncut : In Opposition

Theatre / Political, Roundabout Theatre, Summerhall, Venue 26a, 10:00 until the 30th August

Theatre Uncut: In Opposition presents a selection of six shorts from the theatre company of the same name. Set in Summerhall’s cosy ’roundabout’ tent amidst light and smoke, these plays explore political themes through personal stories.

The first two plays were blistering, hard-hitting indictments of recent government policies towards disabled people and anyone who finds themselves a bit down on their luck and obvious favourites. ‘Things that make no sense’, was a kafkaesque interview-interrogation where a man is framed for a crime he didn’t do, his statements ignored and inverted. It is for the greater good, his interrogators tell him, “We’re all in this together”.

The second, ‘Hi Vis’ was a harrowing recounting by a mother of their disabled child’s struggles, suffused with sometimes dark humour, and a refusal to talk about the disabled as unsexual beings.

Also particularly enjoyable was ‘Close’, which told the story of the night and morning after of the independence referendum, assessing what remains after the ballot box has been emptied.

‘Smoke (and mirrors)’ saw three Turkish women being interviewed by a disembodied BBC reporter, giving us different perspectives on the Gezi Park protests in 2013. It explored themes of reporters behaving unprofessionally, sometimes inhumanely. Taking this theme further, ‘The Most Horrific’ showed an activist trying to get attention for various injustices while the other characters on stage were only interested in the media sensationalism of the latest murder/pedophile story.

‘In the Beginning’ was a confrontation between a protester wanting to join the Occupy camps in America, and her father, from whom she wanted money to get her there. Whilst funny, this also left me thinking, ‘so what?’, as it acted out stereotypes and emphasised the privilege that allowed this protester to take action.

Surely the point is to turn protest into a right, not a privilege? These plays were interesting but posed more questions than they did answers. Several of them went on longer than they needed too, hammering in the same point until it began to get boring. Consequently, the short optional post-show discussion was rushed and added little.

Nevertheless, it was the actors that made this an enjoyable experience. Given just a few days to rehearse their scripts, Paul Cunningham, Lesley Hart, Bunmi Mojekwu and Tessa Parr really shone as they performed in various combinations for these different plays. Cunningham and Hart were particularly outstanding in their solo performances, ‘Hi Vis’ and ‘Close’ respectively.

Overall, despite some slightly laboured points, the performances were thought provoking and well executed.

Image courtesy of CoastKid at Blogspot

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