Aug 8 2017 | By More

★★★★☆   Thought-provoking

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 7 – Sat 12 August
Review by Sarah Moyes

The disturbing consequences of our obsession with fame and celebrity are explored in beauty, Claire Wood’s new play for the Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group.

The story centres around Ty, an internationally renowned photographer who now lives in the quiet Perthshire countryside with his girlfriend, but has got serious case of photographer’s block.

Laura Jimenez, Alastair Smith and Gregor Haddow. Pic: Judith Fieldhouse photography

As his next exhibition looms and he still has no work to show for it, Ty is thrown into a quest for the perfect image of beauty. He starts photographing local teenagers in his home studio – with no concern to the consequences.

Gregor Haddow gives an impressive performance as the egotistical Ty, a photographer so fixated on his own work that he can’t see the potential danger around him, even when he’s all over the papers and being arrested. Laura Jimenez gives a passionate and fiery performance as his girlfriend, French model and actress Heloise, the only person who seems worried about his project from the beginning.

Her concerns turns out to be correct when Daily Mail journalist Justine, played by Wendy Brindle, pretends to be the mother of one of Ty’s models just to get the inside scoop on his latest project. Alastair Smith also gives a solid performance as Ty’s sleazy agent Callum who himself crosses the line with the young girls through many inappropriate comments throughout the show.

There’s some real talent among the young members of the cast who play Ty’s models. Miriam Thomson as the self-obsessed and ditzy Tiffany gives a beautiful rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework. Lauryn Murray is fierce and spirited as Ruby.

scandalous behaviour.

But it’s 16 year-old Matt O’Hagan who steals the show in his portrayal of Brad. At first he seems like nothing more than a cocky and arrogant teenager who just wants to give Ty a hard time following his scandalous behaviour. But there’s a deep-rooted sadness to him as it’s revealed his mother is dead during some emotionally charged scenes with Ty that really stand out from the rest of the show.

Gregor Haddow and Miriam Thomson. Pic: Judith Fieldhouse photography

The script is right up-to-date with references to teenagers double tapping photos on Instagram and wanting book deals like Zoella, although these could be lost on some members of the audience. However it works well to highlight the impact of social media and what really matters to the young generation of today.

The writing works well at keeping the audience hooked, but a side story of Ty’s former muse who died from a drug overdose feels a bit underwhelming. It is not explored enough to have any real impact on the story.

Claire Wood’s script, which she directs herself, is thought-provoking as it explores society’s endless obsession with fame and what really constitutes beauty. It’s a clever and original piece of theatre which will leave you questioning your own interest in the world of celebrity.

Running time: One hour, 30 minutes
The Royal Scots Club, 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE (Venue 241)
Monday 7 – Saturday 12 August 2017
Evenings: 9pm.
Tickets and details:

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