Old Man’s Gift

Venue 13,

8-29 August (except 17 August) 






Tackling child abuse is a dark troublesome area of theatrical exploration.Sara Heart, Lawrence Schrader, Daniel Sean and Sarah Beth are theatre company Laughing on the Edge Theatre who have surprisingly early theatrical performances just off The Royal Mile at the wonderfully intimate Venue 13. Actress, writer and Great British Bake Off fan Sara Heart makes her directing debut at Venue 13 which is proving lucky enough for her.That may be partly due to the innovative set design, it is amazing what you can do with a bit of latex, or it may be due to her first class degree in acting from Trinity Saint David University of Wales this year. She plays the part of a failed psychology student by drawing on her first degree in Cologne four years ago. Performed on a balcony she believes ‘’Balconies are interesting places: you can escape the oppressive inside, but you’re never actually free. In fact, you’re more cornered than ever. So what are a group of mid-twenty year olds doing on a balcony? ‘


They are plotting the murder of their former abuser. Sean plays neurotically over anxious Wills magnificently who is continually wound up by the more chilled out Schrader. Beth becomes the manipulative control freak Liz who wants revenge.Unbeknown to them the old man’s daughter Katy performed by Hart has let them believe that she knows nothing of his crimes.The well edited and structured plot has well crafted humour weaved into its sordid story making it a difficult but powerful piece to watch.Twists and turns throughout keep us engaged and connected with the characters whom we feel for with their very different personalities but drastically connected secrets.The murder scene is a shock to cast and audience.The odd dichotomy of roller coater emotions experienced will have you smirking then seething.



Heart’s web presence tackles tough questions head on from an abused individual who asks her to explain herself and points out a few truths about her reasons for choosing such a subject matter, ‘you’re right: I’ve re-read my explanation of old man’s Gift back and it does sound like I’m glossing over the theme of child abuse as if it’s just a plot device. I’ve been trying to write about abuse for a few years and never found a genre that felt safe enough. Now finally in this black comedy I did because I can detach myself from its consequences that way.’ Very much worth getting up for but expect to come away feeling like you need a stiff drink or at least a great piece of uplifting dance to restore you to festival mood. FOUR STARS



Reviewer : Clare Crines

Posted on August 16, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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