Otter Pie **

29Nov08

The Fish and Games performance group, touring around Scotland, currently at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Wednesday 26th November – Saturday 29th November 2008

The description for Fish and Games production of Otter Pie is very interesting and enticing – a pursuit to explore Scottishness in the 21st century, including a re-interpretation of the classic Scottish novel Sunset Song. It also claims to include dark tongue-in-cheek comedy and will question our culture in Scotland today. However, no matter how well the production explanation is written, it could be said that this production does not live up to its claims and slightly disappoints.

The action begins with the enthusiastic cast welcoming the audience frequently to the performance and then the entire cast start an abstract movement piece, first to no music and then to disco music. The movement piece recurs a few times throughout and does not always seem to sit comfortably with the rest of the action. The Scottish and English cast then move on to present a version of Sunset Song which, in their own admission, has no props, set and a mixed standard of Scottish accents. The cast proceeded to bicker about how the play should be presented and if Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s book has anything to do with Scotland now. This is a fair point, as the Scotland of Sunset Song seems very distant from the Scotland we live in now and many people find it hard to relate to it – even though, as the cast often point out, it is Gordon Brown’s favourite book.

On the whole, the ideas behind the production are very interesting and the cast are very animated, yet they do not seem to say much. Their argument is weak, as the novel is always going to associated with Scotland and part of our literacy history. Otter Pie just seems to mock the novel without real cause or conclusion to their line of reasoning.

TF

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