Review: The Threepenny Opera

Subtext will always be a tricky thing to get right. Often, its hazards come in the form of piling too much on: the allegory that may as well just say whatever it’s so strongly hinting at; the supposedly sly nudge so insistent it leaves a bruise. Less common is the situation in which requisite subtext has been abandoned altogether, leaving the resulting piece a bit hollow, making you wonder what exactly all of its fuss is about.

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Review: Meet Me At Dawn, EIF 2017

We’ve been here before: one or more people trapped in an isolated, strangely featureless location, a series of crucial gaps in their knowledge about who they are or how they arrived.  The slow piecing together of details; evenly-spaced revelations; a general acquisition of understanding.  It’s the setup behind everything from Kafka to Lost, often serving as a somewhat heavy-handed metaphor for our having been born into a world that we don’t fully understand and over which we have minimal control.

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Review: Dance Base Festival – The Humours of Bandon, LEVIATHAN, The North, 038, Together Alone, Fringe 2017

Mention to people that you are setting off for a day of previews at Dance Base, and you find yourself receiving a somewhat uniform response: won’t that be an awful lot of dance for one day?  Yet, even if I weren’t the sort of person who had yet to experience such a thing as ‘too much dance’, it wouldn’t hold true.  For, of all the self-contained festivals within the Fringe, for my money, Dance Base Festival provides the greatest amount of variety across even the smallest selection of its shows.

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Review: Lilith – The Jungle Girl, Fringe 2017

There are few balances harder to maintain than the balance between goofy humour and sharp-edged social critique.  Cloak the mixture in allegory, and the combination shifts from difficult to nigh-overambitious.  This is exactly what The Sisters Grimm have sought to achieve with Lilith: The Jungle Girl, a play designed to be as broadly hilarious as it is pungently political.  The result is undoubtedly entertaining, but whether they’ve managed the perfect mix is up for debate.

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Shona Thomson: Bringing films home

As we sit down on the terrace just off the food court of Ocean Terminal, the first thing that comes to Shona Thomson’s mind is to check her MarineTraffic app.  I haven’t heard of it, and she pulls out her phone to show me as it checks her location, then proceeds to provide information on the ships we can see moored in the Leith docks in front of us: a Bahamas-registered cruise ship bound for Kirkwall, and a buoy-laying vessel built in 2000.  Shona’s Twitter handle is @urbantwitcher and, whether or not the Leith docks count as urban, there is a sense that these boats are in contention for becoming this moment’s rare birds.

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