The Bridge

August 12, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

✭✭✭✩✩ Thought provoking

Just at St John’s (Venue 127) Fri 1 – Sat 16 Aug 2014

A poised and careful meditation on history, family, myth and literature, The Bridge at St John’s is a finely wrought piece.

 

Annie George

Annie George. Photo: www.lunaria.co.uk

Writer and performer Annie George traces the history of several members of her family, travelling back from Scotland to Kerala in pre-independence India.  Stories of courage and pride lead back to writer P. M. John, whose belief that ‘he lives whose name is spoken’ causes him to be remembered by those who come after even though his work is lost.

The competition from the loud music leaking through occasionally from the church (and, on this occasion, the flypast and fireworks from the early Saturday tattoo performance) would finish off many one-handed shows, particularly if they are as quiet and meditative as this one mainly is. However, there is a fierce, burning intelligence and integrity at the core of this show that refuses to be sunk.

hypnotic rhythm

The threads binding past, present and future, the concentration on language, culture and heritage, the interest in independence of all kinds – these provide constant interest. They also mean that in many ways this production is more relevant to the current Scottish political situation than any number of lazy referendum jokes.

The text is expressed through an expertly judged performance by George, with a hypnotic rhythm and poised stage presence. Sarah MacDonald’s direction sustains the atmosphere throughout.

It is not by any means perfect. There might be more attention paid to the structure – the constant moving back and forward between characters eventually becomes wearing.

The multimedia side of the performance also seems something of an afterthought. The projection of a family tree as it is being written is a good start – but thereafter the visuals mainly consist of the family members being represented on stage, which is not entirely necessary when George is so adept at differentiating between them with minimal costume and props. Niroshini Thambar’s music adds another subtle layer, even if it is in danger of being overwhelmed by noise from elsewhere.

There is much to admire here. Not the noisiest or most ambitious piece on the Fringe, but it should not be ignored.

Running time 1 hour
Just at St John’s (Venue 127) , St John’s Church, Princes St, EH2 4BJ
Fri 1 – Mon 25 August 2014 (not 2, 11, 18 or 24)
Daily at 8.30 pm
Tickets from tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bridge

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