Binge at the Fringe

Follow Laura Clay’s final foray into the Edinburgh Fringe with these performances at theSpace @Niddry Street.

Into The Blue 

An all-female cast (with bonus male ukulele player) introduces us to several prominent women from the aviation world, who all find themselves in a strange limbo, the ‘blue’.

Sasha, a Russian cosmonaut whose plane malfunctions, comes to terms with her new world with the help of Amelia Earheart, Amy Johnson and other pioneering pilots. It’s charmingly done, with low-budget plane and radio sound effects, aircraft constructed from ladders and hatstands, and torches shining on glitterballs as the stars guiding Sasha.

The women’s remarkable stories are told with guts and vim, a spot of wartime dancing, and some fake-moustached sexism to remind us what they were fighting against. A joyful reminder of the women who refused to be grounded.

The Red Shoes 

The Hans Christian Andersen tale is given a distinctly dark and modern twist by Cornwall-based youth theatre group Scruffy Mutt, soundtracked by Velvet Underground and Britney songs. Naïve dancer Hope is given the titular shoes, catapulting her to a level of fame she can’t handle.

The staging is intense and intimate, with Hope’s ‘groupies’ sitting in the front row, obsessively comparing photos of her and fighting over her discarded possessions. As Hope grows more selfish and cruel, she starts to resemble the brilliantly sadistic dance teacher and her partner Chris; it’s implied that Hope harbours feelings for her, lending a queer edge to the traditional plot.

An amazing dance routine by a six-year-old cast member rounds off this cautionary story on the perils of fame, and doing whatever it takes to get it.

Much Ado About Nothing 

Shakespeare’s classic tale of deception and mistaken identity is relocated to affluent 1980s Sicily in this bright, fun adaptation.

Beatrice is suitably feisty, and Benedick’s actor brings an Irish charm and brooding edge to the role. The masked party is a sufficiently decadent affair, with appropriate retro soundtracks and Miami Vice-esque costumes, and the play is presented in a very accessible, abridged way for those unfamiliar with it. There’s plenty of laughs to be had, especially in the ‘overheard conversation’ scene with a hungover Beatrice and frantic Benedick.

At times it was hard to hear the lines due to the music volume and the quietness of the actors, but apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

All performances at theSpace @ Niddry Street


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