Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Tiny Dynamite" - Edinburgh Fringe 2007

Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group's production of "Tiny Dynamite" had been on my radar from before the Fringe programme was published, and was high on my list of shows to see. With a limited run and a late evening slot we found it hard to schedule in our plans, but we eventually committed to one final trip through to Edinburgh, largely based on wanting to see this. We needed our effort to be rewarded, and to a large extent it was.

While Abi Morgan's story of two friends, Anthony and Lucien, and their shared loves and losses is a great character piece, it's pretty thin narrative wise. As a result it needs strong performances from the cast to make their friendship believable and create a genuine level of chemistry with Madeleine, who becomes the object of their affection.

As the up-tight Lucien, Paul Schultz does well to convey his frustration at Anthony's carefree attitude while ensuring that we appreciate that his motives are good. Chris Condie seems supremely comfortable in his role as Anthony and succeeded in making his lifestyle choices sympathetic, while Lesley Paul's Madeleine is playfully flirty without appearing to toy with the emotions of her admirers.

Between them, the three actors achieved a dynamic that ensured we wanted a positive ending and that the omens of a repetition of a previous tragedy would remain unfulfilled. While the final outcome may not have been the one I was hoping for, it was certainly a perfectly satisfying conclusion.

The emotional investment the actors gained from the audience is all the more impressive given that much of their performances were reduced to mere vocals for a large part of the audience (myself included). Claire Wood's direction did well to realise much of the play - particularly the swimming scenes - and created a holiday-like atmosphere, however, the decision to locate a good portion of the action on the floor at the right hand side was hugely detrimental to the production. In a venue with several rows of seats on each raised tier this rendered several scenes out of sight of all but the front row. These scenes would have been much more effective staged on one of the raised areas, and I'm amazed this wasn't identified and corrected during the run.

Even with it's problems this was an enjoyable feelgood production that avoided becoming saccharine sweet. And it's a tribute to the performances that they managed to keep a Saturday night end-of-festival audience (who may have had a drink or two) fully attentive throughout.

Tiny Dynamite ran at Diverse Attractions 20th to 25th August.

1 Heckle

Claire said...

I completely agree with you about the staging. I only really realised how much of a problem it was on Saturday night when the theatre was so full as previously, you could get away with peering between people without suffering too much.

But thank you very much for going out of your way to come through. Much appreciated!