Broadway Baby

In their press release Blank Theatre Company describe this rarely performed one-act play by Yeats as a “haunting scene of tragic intensity”. It certainly doesn’t disappoint on that score. Young director Sam Yates and designer Rebecca Patterson have conjured up a stunning version, aided magnificently by Tom White who’s lighting is the most extraordinary I’ve seen in Edinburgh this year.

An Old Man (Brooke Morriswood) returns to a ruined house to free his mother’s trapped soul from a cycle of violence, violation, and remorse - to free her from a purgatorial dream. He has his sixteen year old son (Monique Cornwell) with him, and the relationship between them is strained to say the least. We find out that the old man killed his own father – thus his mother spawned her husband’s killer. Releasing his mother’s soul requires an extraordinary brutal sacrifice, and when that doesn’t work we are left with the Old Man praying bitterly to God to “appease the misery of the living and the remorse of the dead”.

Both actors give tremendous performances, and there is imaginative use of live sound as well as the wonderful lighting to supplement Yeats’ extraordinary language. The clothes (and they do look like what people might actually wear rather than costumes) are beautifully designed and realised by Joanna Mountain. All in all, a flawless production.

So why not five stars….well, in the Fringe program this is billed as lasting an hour and a quarter. The company’s own flyer has it down as an hour long. For a show of an hour or more punters would be ready to part with the seven pound fifty ticket price. In actuality it lasts less than half an hour. The audience looked bemused as the lights faded and then the actors took their bows. If my surmise is correct, the company have taken the hour and fifteen minute slot to enable them to construct the extraordinary set and then take it down again – the show going up 15 minutes after the published starting time would support this theory. This is very unfair to a paying audience who will have made the effort to get there on time and would be expecting a full length show.

Such is the quality of the production that I feel slightly churlish pointing all this out, but if you’re on a budget like 90 per cent of folk up here, you’ll feel conned. If you prefer quality over quantity, however, this is a must see.


C Main, August13-28. 12.30 (25 minutes)

The Blurb

C Main, August13-28. 12.30 (25 minutes)

Call Sheet

Production Company
Blank Theatre
Director
Sam Yates


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