Aug 12 2016 | By More

★★★☆☆    Touching

Silk (Venue 444) 6- 27 Aug 2016
Review by Hugh Simpson

Rose, by Scratch the Surface at Silk, is a well told, emotional piece showcasing the talents of a huge number of young performers.

The story, by writer and director Charles Hindley, tells of the title character losing her parents in the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the trauma that follows her own survival.

The cast of Rose. Photo: Scratch the Surface

The cast of Rose. Photo: Scratch the Surface

The subject is sensitively handled in a text that unfolds with economy. The young cast – also responsible for helping develop the script – are largely impressive, with a tiny acting space downstairs in a nightclub used well.

The biggest drawback is the sheer number of people involved. Having fifteen different characters – played by fourteen people – in a play lasting under an hour, means that following what is going on becomes difficult. It does give the maximum number of people a chance to show what they can do, but this is carried too far here.

Nicola Wood holds it all together very well as Rose. Her struggles are portrayed realistically and starkly but without sensationalism. Beth Revuelta is particularly impressive as grandmother Evelyn, managing the difficult task of playing a much older role without fuss or caricature.

sympathetic befuddlement

Alex Fleming, as Rose’s brother Chris, turns in a nicely judged portrayal of sympathetic befuddlement. Holly Eunson, Mary-Beth McFern and Emma Atkin, as three teenagers with their own problems, manage to transcend what could be stereotypical roles, making them human and believable.

There are odd moments of self-consciousness, particularly when called upon to deal with imaginary objects, but the cast are generally confident and proficient. There are certainly no weak links, and while it is not possible to namecheck every one of them, they all show considerable promise.

This is certainly not a perfect piece of theatre. The strictly chronological nature of the piece is a little dry, not helped by an awkward ‘ten years later’ moment. It also contributes to the ending coming across as pat and artificial; while there is no doubting the heart or good intentions involved, it cannot avoid verging on the trite.

However, it is those good intentions that form the abiding impression. The points about solidarity and tolerance are well made and contribute to a pleasing overall effect.

Running time: 55 minutes
Silk (Venue 444), King’s Stables Rd 28a, EH1 2JY
Saturday 6 – Saturday 27 August 2016 (not Wednesdays)
Daily at 5.55 pm.
Entry by donation
Company website:
Twitter: @STS_COUK
Facebook: scratchthesurfacemusselburgh

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