theSpace – Surgeons Hall
Aug 5 – 13, 18.00
The variety on show at the Edinburgh Fringe is overwhelming, and the experience changes with the style of venue having a powerful effect on the show. So I entered theSpace – Surgeons hall to a larger room and a large stage surrounded (though not by many) with chairs. In this luxury the crowd quietened and, complimentary to the show, the lights went down
We were there for the play ‘Flesh’ written by Derek Batchelor a writer in Scottish Law. So as the play began we had a good idea of what to come. And come it did, thick and fast with 1900’s costumes and an Irish following.
The play was inspired by the stories of immigration, law, justice and of course as per plot criminality. At this period of time human bodies were needed (dead ones) for the purposes of scientific research. Thus spread the criminality of selling and buying corpses across the lines of the social classes of the rich and of the poor portrayed as men at ease.
A body happens to turn up and the two Irishmen, Burke(played by the Irish talking Jeremy Frazer) and his compatriot Hare (played by Roddy MacLeod) both capable men and lovers discover that the dead body could have great commercial provisions, much needed in the effect of being paid so many pounds for it.
They rub their hands in the relish for this money making enterprise and find themselves thick with murder and conniving payments on a regular basis. Of course there came along the matter of the law. This musical was written in overtures for each scene up to the scores of eleven. They had a kind of base music, electric, modern and thankfully to some extent disconcerting.
It was Mr Knox (Frank Burr)who was paying them for these bodies, obviously an influential man, but when the police raided the stage he too was to go down by law. When the law heard of the slightest trace of the conceived murdering the fate of the three man and their industry was sealed. Left without hope of getting away with any of it. So the Flesh was to be its selling potential. In a story of early capitalism, the play ventured through celebrating the success (doomed to fail) and the sorrow in failing.
And we found ourselves thinking had the right side won? Well yes screamed my inner voice; a good entourage of chorus and solo songs. With the spotlight hitting and house light enlightening, having a great cast and crew who put this magical play together. A very human tale of striding and tenderness he threw up his arms and said it’s just the way it is but not everyone has sold human flesh for a much improved life.