3rd – 27th August (Not 8th, 13th or 20th) (17.00)
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
Last year I found myself watching a young actress in a solo comedy show called One Woman Army in one of the more obscurer Free Fringe venues. Her name is Vicki Sargent, & this year she’s back with something quite different. She’s moved on from finding humour in personal retrospective, & decided to entertain us with theatre. Hearing her writing & watching her act through Old Souls has just proven to me this lady is still a blossoming talent, & a year of creative maturity has presented us with something quite magnificent. I’m not sure when, but at some time in the future Vicki will be creating a timeless classic.
But this is 2018, & what she has for us this time round is a delightful fly-on-the-wall window into a young persons visitor scheme to counteract old-age loneliness. Meet 21-year old Rosie (Vicki) & cantankerous, sarcastic, Irish Coffee loving 78-year old, Vera, cannily played by Janet Garner. The irony is this – while Rosie is a bit, well, dull, Vera has lived life to the fullest, becoming a dancer in Paris at the start of the sixties when she had been 21. Alas, the passage of a half-century had stripped her of friends & family, arthiritis is wracking her body, & all that remains to comfort her are the ‘the memories of when she was brave.’
Old Souls is divided into several scenes, marked by blouse changes & subtle differences in the two actresses’ interchanges. There is also a subplot – Rosie’s application to a baking school – but the real beauty of this play is just watching the two ladies bicker over Countdown & crosswords.
It’s a clash of personalities but ultimately they both have something to learn from each other.
Read the full interview…
Edinburgh is the UK’s loneliest city for the elderly, & while millions of people are coming together during the Fringe to mingle & make fun, thousands of others are simply sat at home, watching TV, not having spoken to anybody else for days. Compliments, then, to Vicki, who shows just how much our elders have to offer – they may not be as spritely on their feet, but they have wisdom & they have many a tale to tell. This soft ‘duel’ between Entitled Millennials & Post-War Austeritites is perfect for all – witness an Indian family in the audience whose teenage boys were laughing just as much as their parents. Old Souls is excellent, yes, & funny to boot, & coupling it up with a visit to the renovated Riddles Court in which the cosy theatre is situated is like the perfect Edinburgh cocktail.