Aug 16 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Extra-terrestrially cool

Revolution Bar: Wed 8 – Fri 17 Aug 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

Black Bat’s Technicolor is a freewheeling exercise in both nostalgia and modernity that is highly recommended.

The story of two FBI agents dispatched to small-town New Mexico in 1967 to investigate strange occurrences (which may even have an other-worldly source) may seem like a well-worn path, but is here invested with plenty of energy and spirit.

Technicolor imageNon-appearance on the Edfringe website can make a show fall under the radar, and the acting space (a small area to one side of the bar in Chambers St’s Revolution) is distinctly unpromising. However, Black Bat show that very good theatre can be created in the least prepossessing of spaces.

Nathaniel Brimmer-Beller’s script and direction crackle with fun and an apparently effortless cool. The set-up – with echoes of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, the Twilight Zone and endless other science fiction sources, old and new – is neatly explored in a production that seems to pack a great deal into a short running time.

It is also an object lesson in how a drama – even one with a science fiction theme – can take place in one room without losing anything in imagination or verve.

Jess Rogers, as scientist Jamison, and Freddie Green, as the nerdy FBI agent Collins, have a great deal of fun with a script that deals with Sixties sexism while still being modern in tone. Jacob Baird, as the other FBI man Hebdricks, is somewhat more problematic, yelling his lines from his first entrance and starting from a point of hysteria rather than building up to it.

winning characterisation

Conrad Hardy, Mica Anderson and Sophie Boyle, as the various witnesses to the strange events, are all thoroughly believable performances, sketching out their characters in a small amount of time. Connor McCord’s luxuriantly bearded FBI director is another winning characterisation.

There are some odd shifts in tone towards the end, as the narrative hurries to tie itself up, but these are smoothed over by the pace and fun of the production. There is even a sound dramatic reason for the 1960s music that features heavily – although what kind of New Mexico pop radio station would be playing The Velvet Underground in between the Boxtops and the Turtles in 1967 is perhaps the biggest mystery of all.

Making a coherent whole out of disparate events is, however, one of the strengths of what is a remarkably enjoyable piece of theatre.

Running time 45 minutes (no interval)
Revolution Bar, 30 Chambers St, EH1 1HU
Wednesday 8 – Friday 17 August 2018
Daily at 3.50 pm
Free, non-ticketed.

Facebook: @BlackBatUK
Twitter: @blackbatuk


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Disruptive elements : All Edinburgh | Mar 23 2019