Thursday, 18 August 2016

An angelic sniper brings war home to us. - Edinburgh Festivals 1

Angel, by Henry Naylor, Gilded Balloon Teviot – until 29 August (*****)

Filipa Bragança is the Angel
Of all the definitions of ‘angel’, the least common would be ‘sniper’ – but that’s just what Angel, a new play from the pen of comedy writer Henry Naylor wants us to take on board.
The play, the last of his Arabian Nightmares trilogy, delivers a powerful and emotionally draining story about the ‘Angel of Kobanî’ – a legendary female fighter who defended the (mainly Kurdish) town from the hordes of ISIS fighters, shooting ‘over 100’ if truth is (unusually) not a victim on this occasion.
Filipa Bragança, a recent graduate of Drama Studio, London plays Rehanna, a young woman determined to leave her father’s farm and make her way as a lawyer. With little effort she also delivers, the ‘parts’ of her mother and father, herself at 12, her nemesis Waheed, and a number of other smaller characters.
It is no exaggeration to say that her performance is spellbinding, and is quite the crowning part of the play. She takes the packed audience through her life, and death on her own and with only a barrel for props. She never loses our rapt attention.
Tight writing ensures the retention of our concentration, and while there are moments of lighter humour, the grim reality of the war is never undercut. The second part of Naylor’s trilogy – Echoes -  also features Bragança and is still touring. Hopefully this too, will go on the road shortly. It is produced by Pipeline Productions.
It may be heavily booked, but if you can, you should try and see this play.

Revolution in the Magic Square. Ian Saville, Theatre Arts Exchange – Until 21 August (****)
Unprecedented! A socialist has been elected Leader of the Magic Square! As the only socialist
Who does this look like, again? Oh Yes.
magician, can Ian Saville fend off  the plots and coups of the people in the Square who hate, don’t like or are even lukewarm to him?
Can Karl help him? Or is he going to stick to telling him to ‘ask Gramsci.’? I know – why not ask an ordinary person? Can he overcome his natural reluctance? After all, he is a socialist – they don’t do that.
A new show – thinly based on events in another organisation which is definitely NOT the Labour party – oh no. Ian starts off slow, but when he warms up to a cracking pace the sparks fly. Try and see this show before it goes at the end of this week.
If not, well we’ll have to see what we can do to bring him back some time. Oh Jez we can!

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