A Passing touch of Magic

Feb 9 2012 | By More

Peapod Productions sets out on tour with Passing Through

Anna Guthrie and Philip Kingscott in Peapod Productions' Passing Through

By Thom Dibdin

You wait all year for a play in a pub to come along, and then two arrive at once. Grid Iron have just sent their mighty Barflies out on tour, and now Peapod Productions has Passing Through, opening at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Friday night.

Peapod is the new Edinburgh-based company created by Philip Kingscott which made its debut in December 2010 with the Reindeer Monologues. Passing Through is the latest play from the laptop of Alistair Rutherford, who wrote Peapod’s second production The Garden, seen at the Leith Festival last summer.

It’s a sparkling new work, as director Andy Corelli, explained in an exclusive interview with the Annals: “The play was specially written for Philip and came hot off the press in late December. It is a charming tale of misfortune, woe, trickery and romance with two actors who tell the story of four characters and their interwoven lives.

“Alistair’s script is very clever and rich, it has really captured perfectly the feelings that we all have when we are in love, or looking for love or absolutely nothing to do with love at all. There is lots of comedy in there, and also lots of romance and I am hoping that the audience will laugh a lot, cry a lot and maybe even fall in love a lot as well.”

The site-specific setting is in a bar as this is where the two main characters first meet. Philip Kingscott plays Tommy, a magician who performs as the Ace of Spades who has been mistakenly booked at the local Dockers Social Club. Mistakenly, because they thought they were getting a Motorhead tribute act. As you would.

Unceremoniously dumped into the night, Tommy is nursing his wounds in a nearby bar when Alice, played by Anna Guthrie, stomps in out of the rain. She’s soaked, been stood up and she’s had it for ever with romance.

Corelli is used to site specific productions, he is artistic director of Edinburgh-based Siege Perilous for whom his directing credits include the recent successful promenade production of King Arthur at Craigcrook Castle. Which doesn’t mean that this production isn’t without its own difficulties, not just in presentation, but in keeping the audience on side.

Consorting with magicians

He explains: “It means that the piece has to be flexible enough to be shown in a bar space so it will be cabaret style with the audience in tables around the performance space. We are also incorporating the audience into the storytelling narrative, but in a non-threatening way because I know that some folk are put off a lot by participation. So it is not like that, it is in a fun storytelling way.”

Some clue as to what the level of audience participation might be come with the rumours that Kingscott has been consorting with magicians in preparation for the role of Tommy.

Corelli concurs with a laugh: “He has met up with a guy who is a member of the magic circle, so he has got some tips from him and he has been practising three or four tricks and he has become a dab hand really.

“I haven’t directed a magician before so it is a challenge. With magic a lot of it is about the banter and the chat that comes along side it, almost mesmerising the audience with the words that you say and the style that you say it in. So we are focussing on that, although as I say, Philip has done extraordinarily well with the actually tricks he is doing.”

After opening at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Passing Through follows Barflies out on the Scottish touring circuit – and is visiting several of the same places. So is Corelli daunted at all at possible comparisons?

“I don’t find it daunting,”he says. “We have a strong professional show and we can learn a lot from them. We all have different things to offer. The more there are out there the merrier. Passing Through it is a fabulous roller-coaster ride of a story with lots of magic things happening, so I just hope everyone enjoys it!”

Peapod Productions website: www.peapodproductions.co.uk/

Passing Through on tour:

10 – 11 Feb
The Scottish Storytelling Centre
0131 556 9579 Details
14 Feb
Eden Court Theatre
01463 234 234 Book online
16 Feb
2.30pm & 7.30pm
01324 506850 Details
18 Feb
St Andrews
Byre Theatre
01334 475000 Book online
22 – 25 Feb
Tron Theatre
0141 552 4267 Book online
2 Mar
The Regal Community Theatre
01506 630085 Book online
4 March Berwick-upon-Tweed
Maltings Theatre
01289 330 999 Book online


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