Greenside venue is an oasis of greenery and peace in this frantic Fringe time. If you’re very lucky, you might be entertained by the wit of two of the Greenside staff delivering Marcel Marceau mime jokes and pretty smart patter. A rare wee bonus.
Anyroad! On with the show! In the wee gem of a space that is the tented area of Greenside, the stage has a stylised tree dripping with memories. The otherwise stark stage is set to tell a tale that started life as a scene entered into the Ignite competition (Playwrights Studio Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland), was selected as one of the eight finalists and has since been developed to this fifty minute play.
Twa Dugs Theatre is a brand new Leith based company, just formed earlier this year with aim of creating exciting work injected with dynamic physicality to provoke an audience into an emotional connection with the text. Though the paint is barely dry in almost every respect, they have already reached that aim with this powerful piece of theatre.
Fetch tells the story of two brothers attending their father’s funeral, when old unresolved tensions surface. Douglas, a bit of an outsider, has left home to study; Andrew has stayed at home, following his father’s footsteps, so recently the brothers have led very different lives, yet are tied by the shared experiences of their childhood.
The time sequences move in and out of past and the two actors switch from the child to the adult version of their characters with ease and skill, and their beloved wee dug, Poppy, masterfully manipulated in puppet form by each. The dialogue is mainly in realistic Lowland Scots which is a pleasure to hear represented to an international audience in the Capital in this very Scottish piece that is not in the least couthy.
The interaction is thoroughly recognisable. Each character is in his own mental space, not listening to the other, their speech accurately overlapping as we hear the banter that passes for ‘Scotch love’. Robert Burns is used as salvation as the father quotes him at appropriate moments to try to make his point. As they each throw the muckle stick, Poppy the dug keeps fetching it back like the knotty past they can’t escape.
This thoroughly absorbing, very Scottish, very male and very human play is full of promise for more good things to come from Twa Dugs. It may be about emotional repression but has the power and strength to evoke emotion.
Show times: 8-27 August, 12:40