Scottish theatre talent showcased at the Fringe

David Greig
David Greig

The world’s biggest arts festival is over for another year, with the streets and halls of Edinburgh swiftly returning to normal.

There have been thousands of performances throughout the city from every corner of the globe but, perhaps more so than in any other recent year, Scottish Theatre has come to the fore.

Arguably the hit of the Fringe was ‘The Events’, Scottish playwrite David Greig’s complex and brave production about the aftermath of a spree killing.

Featuring an American High School choir the play sidestepped expected controversy by virtue of being beautifully written, balanced and reasoned.

Kieran Hurley was another writer making a name for himself in the capital this August.

His two productions were equally well-received, having previously had short runs in his hometown of Glasgow.

Both ‘Chalk Farm’ and ‘Beats’ employed numerous clever theatrical devices to give an insight into young people in modern Britain, respectively looking at the impact of the London riots and the banning of raves under the Criminal Justice Bill.

Tackling a very different subject with equal success and verve was Falkik renaissance man Alan Bissett.

His one-man show ‘Ban This Filth’ juxtaposed his own adolescent sexual awakenings with the writings of radical feminist Andrea Dworkin, producing an entertaining and eye-opening monologue on pornography and the tacit everyday abuse of women.

The place of women in modern society was a recurring subject at this year’s Fringe and few dealt with it as deftly as Scottish theatre company Stellar Quines in ‘The List’.

Featuring a predictably faultless turn by Glasgow’s Maureen Beattie, the play follows the story of a housewife in rural Quebec fighting feelings of isolation and an unfolding tragedy.

Meanwhile, in the same prestigious Summerhall venue, ‘HeLa’ was the pick of the ‘Made in Scotland’ theatrical strand - telling the true life tale of Henrietta Lacks, a woman unwittingly responsible for some of the greatest advances in modern medical science.

Iron-Oxide theatre’s production, featuring a hypnotic performance from Adura Onashile, covers endemic racism in 20th century American medicine to devastating effect, while offering a glimpse of hope for the future.

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