Isolation, Identity, Expectations: Makes you think…

‘How can you fit everything about a person into one tiny little box?’

Assigned [theSpace @ North Bridge] (@inner_triangle)

Ros wakes up to find herself in a factory owned by the company ‘Assigned’, and has no way to get home. In this mysterious place, everyone’s identities, likes, dislikes and desires are packed into boxes and shipped off into the world. But there seems to be something wrong with Ros’s box…

As Ros experiences flashbacks of life events that shaped her, including a callous father who expected a son and refuses to raise a ‘soft’ child, she becomes more frustrated with societal expectations of what a girl should be. Boxing and Ros’s preferred pastime dancing are framed as exclusively masculine/feminine pursuits, as are pink toys; the confines of gender are thrust under the spotlight.

The infuriating Assigned customer service helpline section was inspired and all too familiar, and the topical political and cultural references dotted throughout worked well. Ros is full of witticisms and bubbling with rage, while her mother brilliantly portrays a woman at breaking point due to the events her box’s contents throw at her. Every character is affected by the boxes Assigned put them in, and never with good results.

A thought-provoking piece from working-class, disabled-led Inner Triangle Productions that deserves a wider audience.


Jasmine Power [Pianodrome @ Old Royal High] (@JasziePower)

The Pianodrome, built out of recycled pianos for ideal acoustics, has a new home at the Old Royal High for one Fringe only, and it’s a perfect venue to see rising star Jasmine Power perform an intimate set.

Much of the material was written in lockdown in Nashville and her native Wales, so naturally there are themes of isolation, identity, and the heartbreak of a long-distance relationship. But as she explains, there are songs full of happier memories, such as painting mermaids with her childhood friends, walking the Camino de Santiago, or a warm portrait of her sailor father.

There’s hints of Tori Amos and Kate Bush about Jasmine’s performance, such as the vulnerability in her voice and the thoughtful, almost cinematic lyrics. Pianodrome’s unique layout makes the top notes shimmer and gives the deeper ones resonance, but never drowns out Power’s voice. The audience were completely rapt throughout- and there were a few damp eyes besides my own.

Jasmine has already collaborated with some big names, including Amanda Palmer and Melissa Manchester, and has endorsements from Sir Paul McCartney, Jamie Cullum and Gilles Peterson. She deserves a much wider audience, so take this opportunity to see a stellar new talent while you can.


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