Mine Ain Fowk

Apr 14 2016 | By More

★★★☆☆      Vibrant

Wee Red Bar: Wed 13 – Fri 15 April 2016
Review by Thom Dibdin

Raw and potent, if somewhat under-formed, Mine Ain Fowk  at the Wee Red Bar, is a fascinating take on contemporary politics and never less than fun with it.

Set in Edinburgh in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Crimson Clan’s three hander follows best pals Keira and Abigail as they struggle with their own thoughts on devolution and cope with those of the men in their lives.

Jennifer Walker and Kerry Bruce. Publicity photo Crimson Clan

Jennifer Walker and Kerry Bruce. Publicity photo Crimson Clan

Kerry Bruce and Jennifer Walker bring the pair to life with a constant hum of energy and the kind of self-absorbed hedonism that only those in their late-teenage years can get away with while retaining their pride.

Bruce’s Keira is stroppy to the extreme – still living at home with her dad, Derek, and hating it more every day. She can’t work out what to do, hasn’t got a job and certainly hasn’t got enough money to be properly independent.

Jennifer Walker’s vibrant, constantly positive Abigail is a Uni but rather more interested in bedding a man. That means Peter, a random bloke she got off with in a club and fell into bed with on their first date.

Not that it’s serious, she reports back to Keira in a beautifully structured sequence, she just like’s his tackle : “it’s beautiful, it’s like aerodynamic on him, like it could fly”.

As the days count down to the referendum, their passing noted through clips of various political debates, it turns out that Peter is rampantly, boringly, Yes: pro-independence. And Derek, his anger at Keira’s failure to choose a safe path for her future welling up, is rabidly No and anti-independence.

peddling paternalism and fear

Abi and Keira just want to be able to drink, eat, gossip, get laid and gossip some more. They have a point. The men on the TV are just peddling paternalism and fear in varying tones and forms.

Playing both men is Kyle Matson. It’s a great turn from him, creating two quite distinct characters with the change of a shirt – one full of himself and his life as he gives it dad banter with his daughter but shies away from talking about the big problems; the other sensitive, rather more naive than he looks and, it turns out, hopelessly in love.

It’s solidly entertaining stuff, which rather suffers from being both written and directed by Kerry Bruce. An external eye might have helped her not to dwell for too long on the opening sequences where Keira and Abigail are remembering their night out and trying to find out more about Peter from his facebook page.

It’s not that there is too much of it, but that after a point it stops adding to what is revealed about the characters or what is necessary for moving the plot on. Indeed, the strongest criticism of the whole piece is that the two central characters – strong and forthright though they are – could be developed and explored as characters much more.

What Bruce nails, and what makes this so very watchable, is her storytelling. Once she does get the play moving along, she certainly knows how to bring a story to life. And the interactions between the different characters ring very true.

The political side of the play doesn’t feel quite as well worked through as it might be, either. What Bruce seems to be saying – about involvement with the political process – is well worth saying. Quite how it works into the structure of the play is not as clear.

An effervescent piece of theatre that meets all the challenges of performing in an intimate space head on. And has a cracking trio of performances to boot.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
Wee Red Bar, Art College, Lauriston Place, EH3 9DF
Wednesday 13 – Friday 16 April 2016
Evenings: 7.30pm.
Details and tickets: www.eventbrite.co.uk

Crimson Clan website: http://www.crimsonclan.com
Crimson Clan facebook: Crimson-Clan-221682531508669


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