Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"Turn Me To Stone" - Edinburgh Fringe 2007

FourthAngel's "Turn Me To Stone" has given me a bit of a problem to review. There is definitely a good show in there, in fact probably two, but as it stands the combination didn't sit well together. Although I did hear two different audience members upon leaving call friends to tell them about a "great play" they had just seen.

Set in a relief/emergency shelter after an undefined disaster we meet "Liam" (Richard Dennis) and his two younger siblings Charlotte and Morgan (the adult Katy Bartholomew & Nick Kay putting in remarkable performances as 10 year olds.) Their parents are missing and Liam has to find them while also looking after the children. This is where my real interest in the piece lay and the writing and performances were spot on.

We then meet David, a local political activist who is helping to run the recovery centre, but whose extremist right-wing views are gradually revealed as he attempts to recruit David to his cause. This raising of race/cultural issues just didn't work for me, and whilst performed well by Fred Gordon, David was left rather two dimensional. The audience never sees the potential that David appears to see in Liam and is left somewhat puzzled by it. A much more interesting angle was David's wife Marianne (well portrayed by Gwennie Von Einsiedel) and her uncomfortable relationship with the younger children. Indeed, David's interest in Liam worked best for me when it appeared to be hinted as potentially sexual. The sub-plot involving a mother with a missing daughter also seemed more of a distraction than anything else.

Writer Tom Latter clearly has a real talent for writing the characters/dialogue for the children and I'd love to have seen this as the sole focus of the piece. His political dialogue also has the potential to work - but not here, not for me. As it stands it is definitely worth seeing but leaves a feeling of a missed opportunity.

"Turn Me To Stone" runs until the 26th (not Wednesdays) at 15:40 at Roman Eagle Lodge.