FRINGE: Wee Andy – Theatre – Holden Street Theatres – 4.5K

Written as a companion piece to Fleeto (Tumult in the Clouds’ other offering this Fringe), Wee Andy looks at the impact of gang violence, on a family and a community. A young lad, Andy Graham, has been the victim of a terrible knife attack, his life only just saved and his face horribly and permanently disfigured. He has been brought up in an environment that breeds gangs and has not managed to escape their cruel attentions.

The majority of the story is told from the viewpoints of Andy’s mother (Pauline Knowles), as she tries to protect her boy from any further harm – potentially to be caused by the menacing Kenzie (Neil Leiper) – and Mr Andrew Scott (Andy Clarke), a surgeon who was once a housing scheme boy himself and who now spends his days and nights trying to patch up the kids who come in with these horrendous injuries. Both of these characters also have thoughts to share on the reasons for the escalating violence and theories on how best to combat it.

While we may not live in the harsh climate of Scotland’s toughest housing schemes, these are not themes which are foreign to Adelaide life. A lot of people have similar opinions about young people going out and “running amok”, and the parents who let them do so. Is it likely that there are any more solutions to these societal issues here than in Glasgow, or are the feelings of hopelessness and frustration universal?

Wee Andy makes you question how different classes of people respond and relate to one another, think about the way upbringing influences how people turn out, and wonder whether things can ever get better, or if the downward spiral of society is already too far gone and the perpetual cycle of violence will be never-ending. This is one of those shows which remind you that truly moving theatre does not need to be complicated or flashy; the most important facets are the performances of the actors, the eloquence of the writing and the power of the story being told. Wee Andy is nothing but quality in all of these areas.

Kryztoff rating: 4.5K

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