Icelandic debut at D21

Feb 27 2015 | By More

UK premiere of Icelandic play

Discover 21, Edinburgh’s smallest theatre, is staging the UK premier of an Icelandic two-hander this weekend with the three-night run of Bitter Sweet by Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir.

Described as a portrait of a relationship, Bitter Sweet explores habit, guilt and the things we do to keep the status quo. Sigfusdottir will be directing Ben Blow as M and Kate Foley-Scott as S, as the play follows the couple over five years.

Ben Blow and Kate Foley-Scott in rehearsal. Photo Discover 21

Ben Blow and Kate Foley-Scott in rehearsal. Photo Discover 21

Sigfusdottir told Æ: “I wanted to explore a relationship beyond a certain event, but as a condition. They start off so naively in love but manage to hurt each other despite themselves.

“They say the first cut is the deepest; can you ever forgive? Can you gain trust once it has been broken? Is it your responsibility to try and fix the problems your partner has? Why do we hold on to the idea of love even after it has disappointed us?

“I don’t think Bitter Sweet offers answers to those questions but it is there to ask.”

The production comes with warning of graphic violence of a sexual nature, instances of nudity and foul language. Which somehow feels right for a production from the creator of Shakespeare in Hell, which imagined various Shakespearian villains seen in a tour through Dante’s nine circles of hell, matching a range of Shakespeare’s creations with the sins of faithlessness, lust, gluttony, greed, wrath, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery.

These were not just any old villains, either: Juliet and Ophelia were condemned, both, for their suicides. If Shakespeare in Hell had its own vicious setting to create as part of a horror festival, Sigfusdottir says that Bitter Sweet is a reflection of how she sees life.

As she told Æ: “The play may have in-yer-face elements but those elements are not there for shock value. They are there as a manifestation of love which I have only known as brutal, unforgiving and complex. Strange to think that someone can make you so content one minute and so desperately lonely the next.”


Bitter Sweet
Discover 21, St Margaret’s House, 151 London Road, EH7 6AE
Friday 27 February – Sunday 1 March 2015
Evenings 7.30pm.
Running time: 50 mins.
Entry £5 on the door or reserve at Brown Paper tickets:
NB: Age recommendation is 18+


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