Aug 11 2023 | By More

★★★☆☆    Cheerful

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39): Sun 6 – Sat 26 Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

Lunar Theatre Company and New Celts’ Kingdom at theSpace on the Mile has a vitality and sense of fun that wins out over a portrait over a future Scotland that does not always come off.

The play, by Ian Dunn, is set some thirty years in the future, in an independent Scotland. Objecting to what they see as a female-dominated Edinburgh government, the traditionalist men of the ancient Kingdom of Fife have set up a separatist state. The story deals with the attempt to reunite the nations.

Jorgie Buchan, Jordan Monks, Robbie Hail and Alex Paton in  Kingdom. Pic Iain Davie.

In many ways the script is all over the place. It has a cheerily feminist message mixed in with some decidedly filthy humour and a great deal of arcane constitutional wrangling. If a newly independent Scotland would really be so obsessed with questions about the power of royalty, primogeniture, or the Act of Settlement then heaven help us all.

Thankfully, there’s enough comedy in Dunn’s own direction to keep the piece going, although it definitely flags towards the end. The only way to play this would be with the maximum of power and attack, and the cast certainly rise to the occasion.

suitably rough edges

Jordan Monks gives suitably rough edges to Willie, an old-fashioned Caledonian macho man with all of the attendant bluster and insecurities. This contrasts well with Lewis Robertson’s Craig; a more vulnerable and self-doubting figure, the character is given life by Robertson’s impressive comic timing.

Duncan, king of the resuscitated Kingdom, is played by Robbie Hail as someone who has decidedly mixed feelings about his royal status, acting cleverly as a straight man to his more expansive fellow Fifers.

TAlex Paton, Jorgie Buchan, Robbie Hail, Lewis Robertson, Jordan Monks. Pick: Lunar Theatre Company.

The Queen – dragged from the streets of Buckie as the last representative of the House of Stuart – is wonderfully petulant as played by Jorgie Buchan. From the moment she appears, yelling along to Olivia Rodrigo’s Brutal, there is a definite energy to her performance, as well as a real believability despite the ludicrousness of the situation.

Alex Paton gives Mhairi, the Queen’s adviser and protector, considerable authority, and has a poised and authoritative presence on stage.

Ewan Little’s sound and lighting are assured, and help give the piece an accomplished visual aspect. There is a pleasingly cartoonish feel to everything that takes place, including the violence.

The message about gender equality is still sadly urgent, while the niceties about succession only serve to point up the ridiculousness of the whole notion of royalty; this may very well be the point, but it is confusingly put across, and any contemporary relevance is somewhat lost.

Nevertheless, there is enough fun to be had here (except, possibly, if you are a male Fifer) so this hardly matters.

Running time 1 hour 15 minutes (no interval)
theSpace on the Mile, 80 High St, EH1 1TH (Venue 39)
Sunday 6 – Saturday 26 August 2023 (even dates only)
Even dates only at 5.05 pm
Tickets and details: Book here.

Lunar Theatre Company links

Company Facebook: @LunarTheatreCompany

Instagram: @lunartheatre

Twitter: @Lunartheatre23



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  1. Jim Nichol says:

    Loved it, funny & thought provoking. Very good cast made for enjoyable afternoon.