Aug 18 2018 | By More

★★★★☆    Vital questions

Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30): Sun 12 –Mon 27 Aug 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

Twa, the collaboration between writer Annie George and visual artist Flore Gardner at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, is a lucid and involving production. At times stark and disturbing, it is nevertheless a depiction of hope that has an ultimately transcendent quality.

Mixing memoir with the ancient story of Philomela, George’s tale exemplifies the way that women have been silenced over the years, and found hope in creative resistance.

Annie George in Twa EdFringe 2018

Annie George. Pic:

There are productions which tell of finding your own voice, or that try to depict hard-won self-knowledge, that end up serving up platitudes and sentimentality and do not deserve such a message. This is undoubtedly not the case here.

The honesty and clarity on display are excellently served by a storytelling skill and stagecraft that do not shy away from confronting difficult questions. The style may seem conversational and off the cuff, but is the result of careful and clever structuring. The combination of the modern with myth, aside from a couple of occasions where the two stories sit oddly together, is a successful one.

The production is well served by Niroshini Thambar’s striking composition and sound design but it is the visual impact that truly sets it apart. Director Saffy Setohy and visual dramaturg Jan Bee Brown have helped to create a production where the accretion of the smallest details creates a whole of great significance.

impossible to miss

Flore Gardner, moreover, is very much an equal part of this. Her occasional – wordless but highly telling – reactions to the narrative are important enough, but it is her art, both in the form of digital animations and in the live drawing she does on stage, that are the most significant.

The animations are impossible to miss, while the drawings may sometimes go unnoticed, but both are clearly a collaboration with George’s text rather than an adjunct to it.

The art like the words, sometimes touches on difficult themes, but its effect is entirely positive. This is mirrored in the rest of the production, as hidden and unspoken truths come to light.

Running time 1 hour (no interval)
Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30), 43-45 High St, EH1 1SR
Sunday 12 – Monday 27 August 2018
Daily (not Mon 20) at 6.30 pm.
Book tickets on the Fringe website:
Annie George website:
Facebook: @msanniegeorge
Twitter: @msanniegeorge


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