I Can Go Anywhere

December 11, 2019 | By | Reply More

★★☆☆☆    Uneven two-hander

Traverse Theatre: 7 – 21 Dec 2019
Review by Amy Taylor

A good premise is overshadowed by a lumbering script in Douglas Maxwell’s exploration of identity and belonging, I Can Go Anywhere, at the Traverse Theatre as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas to 21 December.

Named after a line in Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, The Who’s ground-breaking 1965 single,  I Can Go Anywhere brings together an academic and an asylum seeker. Maxwell’s use of their shared love of Mod culture is a deliciously conceived device but is let down by a lack of development.

Nebli Basani and Paul McCole. Pic: Lara Cappelli

Arriving in the home of recently divorced academic Stevie (Paul McCole), Mod Jimmy (Nebli Basani) needs a reference for his asylum interview and has pinned his claim on his commitment to the Mod subculture that Stevie no longer seems to be part of; vinyl records, porkpie hat, parka, suit and all.

Brought together by extreme and unusual circumstances, their meeting predictably descends from awkward conversation into a long dark night of the soul.

staggers

The play’s premise may be rich and the possibilities varied in the meeting between these two very different men with one thing in common. Yet Maxwell’s script staggers from stilted conversation about Mods to the background and players involved in Stevie’s recent breakup and problems at work and to the letter, before dramatically stumbling into the play’s inevitable, fiery implosion.

Nebli Basani and Paul McCole. Pic: Lara Cappelli

While there is a sense of urgency in Jimmy’s request for a reference, the script takes time to unfurl and match this importance, and it often takes a little too long. Sometimes, it doesn’t quite reveal enough information while some twists arrive a little too late to be as powerful as they could be.

Jimmy’s refusal to share any background information hints at trauma inflicted by an unknown person or regime, but this lack of clarity also makes him feel less developed than Stevie, whose problems are literally centre stage throughout.

high energy

Eve Nicol’s production relies on the two performances, using Jen McGinley’s bare set to reflect the emptiness of both characters’ current existence. The performances work well enough but Basani’s very high energy portrayal of Jimmy rather overshadows McCole’s Stevie.

Which is a shame, because at its core, I Can Go Anywhere is about hurt people desperately looking for a place to belong, where they can go anywhere and be anyone in a world that demands conformity.

And a play about how music can speak to us in ways that simple words can’t, and how that music can unite even the unlikeliest of people, deserves a better showing than this.

Running time 1 hour 20 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED
Saturday 7 – Saturday 21 December 2019
Evenings Tue – Sat: 8pm; Matinees: Sat 14 , Thurs 19, Sat 21: 2.30pm
Information and tickets: Book here.

Paul McCole and Nebli Basani. Pic: Lara Cappelli

ENDS

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