This is what the Fringe is all about ! A Saturday afternoon in Edinburgh at the wonderful Traverse Theatre. A brilliant one person play performed by a powerhouse of an actress to a full house in an intimate venue. The tale of Ciara charts her struggle with her self made success as an art gallery owner with her troubled past as the adored daughter of a petty gangster. Blythe Duff (best known for her role as Jackie Reid in Taggart) is immense. Ciara is articulate, a sexy middle aged Glaswegian, a strong independent spirit with a ready comedic foul mouthed rejoinder and a dark sense of humour. I was left with the strong impression that Duff did not have to try too hard to assume the characteristics of the title role !
The script is superbly crafted by David Harrower and the whole 70 minute experience was captivating. The audience lapped it up, totally riveted throughout. With many Edinburgh middle class accents heard in the foyer and mostly middle aged people filing in to see the play, I was surprised at how empathetically they absorbed the murkier aspects of the storyline. Also, it never ceases to amaze me how the theatre can accommodate vocabulary that other mediums would struggle with – for example the use of the phrase ‘romanian cunt juice’ gets a giggle from an audience that might well react with a sharp intake of breath if the same words were spoken on the telly. I loved the dialogue. The writer is from Edinburgh but now lives in Glasgow and he is quite clearly fluent in the weegie tongue. His script has a sort of west-of-Scotland Irvine Welsh quality about it. For example: “Bobby is seventy six years old but looked reborn. He shagged her twice daily on the tanning bed he said. ‘In the cunt before lunch – up the arse after’. On the tanning bed.”
The one-person play is such a hard gig to pull off. The combination of Harrower and Duff have accomplished the feat in trumps, this play is a real triumph for both. A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon for me and as this play runs until the 25th August a great way to spend some time on any day of the week for you. The times of the performance vary from day to day so check the timings before booking a seat – but do book a seat – you won’t regret it. FOUR STARS
Reviewer – Chris Donkin