Out Of The Bad

Aug 22 2017 | By More

★★★★☆   Comes good

Freemasons’ Hall (Venue 7): Fri 4 – Fri 25 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Out of the Bad, by Fair Pley at the New Town Theatre, is a warm and politically informed production distinguished by outstanding performances.

Anne Hogg’s play, adapted and directed by Sarah McCardie, is promoted as a black comedy dealing with the occupation of the Caterpillar plant in Uddingston in 1987.

Kate Donnelly and Keira Lucchesi. Pic: Fair Pley

Both of those things are misleading. The play is definitely set now, although the events of 1987 are always present. The two-hander about a mother and daughter is far more gentle than the ‘black comedy’ tag would suggest, but none the worse for it.

This is a short play, but more full than many longer ones. An elegy for the lost industrial past of central Scotland is present, but as a texture of the work rather than its defining feature, and more open-ended and bittersweet than it might appear.

The performances are what really sets the production apart. Keira Lucchesi gives daughter Danni genuine life and believability, while Kate Donnelly is superb as mother Mary.

spot-on characterisation

From the moment we first see her – hungover and singing in her kitchen – Donnelly delivers an absolutely spot-on characterisation, with none of the overt ‘performing’ even good actors can succumb to in such a situation.

McCardie’s direction is unfussy and always at the service of her actors. The script manages subtly to give enough exposition about the Caterpillar dispute that the slide show at the beginning is unnecessary. Perhaps it is a consequence of the sponsorship by Unite, but it seems out of place in such an otherwise subtle and elegant work and strikes the wrong note.

For what follows is a low-key but deeply human drama, illuminated by magnetic performances.

Running time 45 minutes (no interval)
New Town Theatre (Venue 7), Freemasons’ Hall, George St, EH2 3DH
Friday 4 – Friday 25 August 2017
Daily (not Tues 15) at 4.25 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/out-of-the-bad
Company Website: https://www.fairpley.com

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