Edinburgh Festival review
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Meanwhile Theatre Company
Malcom Watson (director), Jamie Warnock (lighting and sound)
Andrew Warnock (David Balfour), Anthony Bentley (Robert Louis Stevenson), Ruth Herbert (Catriona Drummond)
Running time

'Kidnapped' was recently selected as the novel all citizens of this 'City of
Literature' ought to be reading. It's probably also the book most people would likely choose if asked to name one nineteenth century Scottish novel.

In spite
of its inconclusive ending, (its hero awaiting the outcome of his fortune, his
friend wanted for murder), 'Kidnapped' retains an appeal for both younger and
older readers. Fewer than those who know 'Kidnapped' are aware of its
sequel, 'Catriona', which takes David Balfour on another adventure, in which
Alan Breck Stewart only briefly appears.

Meanwhile's production at the hall of Greenside Parish Church opens with a brief back-projected reprise of the 'Kidnapped' story-line,
using cut-out characters. It's a nice touch, reflecting Stevenson's life-long
fascination with toy theatre. This is interrupted, however, when Robert Louis
Stevenson (Anthony Bentley) is visited by David Balfour (Andrew Warnock)
demanding a better ending to his tale. It's an interesting confrontation
between character and creator, which without plumbing the depths of literary
theory, could perhaps have been made more of.

Using the back-projection device perhaps a little too
frequently, and Bentley as all the other principal male characters in 'Catriona' (and
there are several) the tale is told, of David's continuing struggle to obtain a
fair trial for James of the Glen, the man accused of the murder of Colin
Campbell 'The Red Fox', which he had witnessed in 'Kidnapped'. It also deals with his efforts to
ensure Alan Breck Stewart escapes to France, and of his meeting with Catriona
Drummond (Ruth Herbert), whose father becomes the cat's paw of Lord
Prestongrange, Lord Advocate of Scotland and the man charged with ensuring that
James of the Glen will be found guilty.

It makes for a lively hour and twenty minutes for three actors, who
maintain pace and characterisation throughout. Some elements work better than
others, and even on a first performance, it was clear some stage jokes were
going to work better than others. This is a show which certainly has the
potential to tour and to engage wider audiences than purely Fringe goers, but
requires some additional work to fully satisfy.

Time: 9.30am on 13-18 August, 2.10pm on 20-25 August

Copyright Bill Dunlop 2007. Published on August 2007