Aug 21 2019 | By More

★★★☆☆    A game on stage

Wee Red Bar (Venue 506): Fri 2 – Mon 26 August
Review by Italian reviewer Federica Balbi

It’s 2016. Hibernian F.C. haven’t won the Scottish Cup since 1902. Now, four guys in their early twenties would do anything to see the final against the Rangers…

Deeks (Nathan Scott Dunn) buys the tickets for the match for him and his best friends (Gregor Copeland, Cameron Docker and Josh Brock). The burst of enthusiasm is demolished when Deeks is forced to reveal he’s borrowed £1000 from the violent, quick-tempered Craig (Jonny Tulloch).

A scene from 1902. Pic: Saltire Sky

In Mags’ (Ella Stokes) bar, the tension rises, and it becomes more and more difficult to sort the situation out. For the first part of the play, the protagonists escape the worst through sketches and jokes, but their troubles remain unresolved, at least until they ask for help from Deeks’ brother Tony (Colin Macdonell).

Sandy Bain’s guitar and voice animate the play throughout, livening it up even more. In fact, music is one of the play’s key elements. The script draws inspiration from a shared identity, that of Edinburgh and Leith in particular, and music includes the audience in concentrating shared knowledge and experiences. Most of the audience started singing along from the first notes of Sunshine on Leith

The play also creates a strong sense of identification and community through stadium chants, the local language and other cultural references. The audience is grabbed by the show in a way that is characteristic of the stadium rather than the theatre: some spectators started cheering and waving their fists in the air.

convincing and skilled

And on stage a ʻmatchʼ is actually being played. The opposing teams are clear, but not the rules. And if the stage becomes a ring instead of a football pitch, which boxer would be the winner? At that point though, it wouldn’t be a ʻgameʼ any more…

The cast of 1902. Pic: Saltire Sky

The actors are very convincing and skilled with good comic rhythm. In the course of this particular performance, they also showed they can brilliantly get away with some unpredicted action on the part of the public. The script, written by Nathan Scott Dunn, works very well even if it contains some perplexing points for further reflection.

This is the third year in a row Saltire Sky Theatre have brought 1902 to the EdFringe, and it is still a big success.

Running time: 1hr 15m (no interval)
Wee Red Theatre Main Space Edinburgh College of Art, EH3 9DF (Venue 506)
Friday 2 – Monday 26 August 2019
Daily, not Wednesdays, at 7:30 pm
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/1902
Facebook: @saltireskytheatre
Twitter: @1902SaltireSky


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