Posts Tagged Edinburgh Fringe 2016

The Necessity of Atheism

necessityofatheism The Necessity of Atheism
by Sean Lang
The Space at Surgeons Hall
15-20 August 1210-1250
£8 (£6)
 
The Necessity of Atheism by Sean Lang is a farce about the romantic poet Percy Shelley during his days as a young student at Oxford University. Set during the height of the Napoleonic Wars in 1811, it sees Shelley somewhat rashly circulating a very controversial pamphlet asking for proof of God around the University. This attracts the attention of the ultra-Tory Lord Eldon for whom the pamphlet is seditious treason. Smarting from an apple thrown at him by an unknown malcontent, Eldon is determined to find the pamphet’s author and punish him severely.
 
This all sounds very grim, but in fact this is a light comedy with a timely message in these days of trigger warnings, safe spaces and restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to criticise the negative aspects of religion and the ‘right’ not to be offended. Shelley was not himself an atheist, but he argued that for freedom to exist, society has to allow people to profess and argue that God does not exist.
 
This is an enjoyable knockabout farce that nevertheless gives the audience something to think about on the way home.
 
 
**** Four Stars
Reviewed by David Kerr

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Little Dorrit

littledorrit

A mysterious engraving on a watch is the key to the story

The Spaces on the Mile

Aug 12-13
11:05 -12:10

One of Charles Dickens’ best loved stories is Little Dorrit, a sentimental rags-to-riches story of an amiable and kind girl who regularly visits her impoverished father in the debtors’ prison.  A watch with a mysterious message signals a change of fortune for the Dorrit family in this engaging musical production of the story.

If you’re looking for something light and entertaining with a good old-fashioned happy ending look no further. The old music hall tunes remain in the head long after seeing this fine production from University of Gloucestershire Drama and Performing Arts Students.

**** Four stars

Reviewed by David Kerr

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Who Killed Pablo Neruda? (A Poet’s Journey)

pabloneruda

Pablo Neruda

Mystery, poetry and the unknown contents of a white bag spark a young woman’s quest into the life, death and writing of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
Age category: 12+

Quaker Meeting House, Edinburgh
7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2HE

Pablo Neruda was to Chile and the Spanish-speaking world what Robert Burns was to the Scots; a national poet with a strong romantic bent; radical politics and a complicated personal life.

This play introduces the great man’s poetry; albeit (for the most part) in its English translation. This play recounts one young American woman’s search to find out more about the life, the mysterious death and the poetry of the Chilean bard.

Neruda had been the Chilean representative in Madrid at the time of the Spanish civil war. He was friendly with the gay Spanish poet Garcia Lorca.  Lorca’s murder by the Francoists led to his political radicalisation.  He became supporter of the Communist Party and lived a life on the run from the Videla regime in the 1940s.

Neruda was a man of great contradictions; he supported Stalin, he was a womaniser, yet he wrote the most wonderful and tender love poetry. This is brought out clearly in this ‘jukebox’ play.

Neruda made many enemies.  He was in hospital suffering from terminal cancer when the Allende government was overthrown in a military coup by General Pinochet  (with covert CIA help) in September 1973.  Within a few days, Neruda was dead. The claim at the time was that he had suffered a heart attack.

For years it was rumoured that he had been poisoned on Pinochet’s orders by a lethal injection given to him by a doctor in the hospital. The results of an autopsy conducted on the poet’s exhumed remains in 2013 were released in June 2015 suggesting that he was infected with a highly toxic bacterium. It looks like Neruda really was murdered.

This production is an affectionate look at the poet; with his imperfections and his sublime verse. The Syracuse University Department of Drama have produced a real gem; a fine introduction to the great man’s work for newcomers and a great reminder of his greatest hits for those who already know and love it.

Reviewed by David Kerr

Four Stars ****

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