Blue Surge ***

04Apr09

Cobweb Theatre Company, Adam House, Edinburgh
Thursday 2nd April – Saturday 4th April 2009
(The Byre Theatre, St Andrews – Friday 24th April 2009)

Following Life of Insects (see review below) in Cobweb Theatre Company’s double bill is Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge, a play about two cops and their assignment to close down a known prostitution business, masquerading as a massage parlour. On the surface, Cobweb Theatre Company’s two plays are very different in style and content; however the two are inherently linked by their examination of class and gender roles, and hence balance each other well. Yet, by comparison, John Lake’s production contains a small cast of five and the production’s particular strengths lie in the individual dramatic moments.

Andrew Henry portrays the character of Curt, a cop that takes it upon himself to try to help Sandy, played by Frankie Bradley, a young woman working in the “Naughty but Nice” massage parlour. Some of the most intimate and poignant moments in the performance happen between Henry and Bradley, as their characters begin to connect. The principal theme of the gap between classes is shown effectively through Henry’s character and his relationship with his wealthy fiancée, played by Laura Brough. Lake’s production focuses on the themes in Gilman’s script, unfortunately resulting in the story telling arch being lost a little along the way. The constant blackout interruptions slowed down the action and were, at times, clumsy. Nevertheless, the production contains both tragic and comic moments, particularly the exchanges between Jamie Laing’s character, Doug, and Emma Hay’s Heather.

On the whole, the production succeeds in its intentions and new layers are successfully added by the cast, though some confusion results by the attempt to set the action in Scotland. The Chicagoan play has language and social conditions connected to its setting, which were not fully separated for this production. However, this small detail did not take away too much from the overall quality.

TF

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