FRINGE: Fleeto – Theatre – Holden Street Theatres – 4K

After a vicious knife attack on his friend Andy, Mackie (Jordan McCurrach) heads out on the streets of Glasgow with a bunch of like-minded lads to exact revenge on the people who they think are responsible for this deed. With heightened emotions, a bloodlust and group-mentality, things quickly escalate out of control and an innocent young man loses his life at Mackie’s hand. This is, sadly, not an uncommon occurrence and, as we follow the police officer (Andy Clarke) who is charged with the duty of informing the unfortunate victim’s mother (Pauline Knowles), we learn about the knife culture engulfing the city’s streets and the environment that is the breeding ground for the perpetrators.

Through Mackie and gang leader Kenzie (Neil Leiper), we get to see two very different sides to the young men who are involved in these gangs and commit such dreadful acts of violence. Kenzie is the unfeeling scum, who takes a gleeful enjoyment from the act of murder, while Mackie is the more humane side, wracked with guilt and unsure of how to proceed with life now that he has taken another’s. Both are the products of the housing schemes they inhabit and the parents who were absent from their upbringing, whether in a physical or emotional sense, or both.

The style of the piece is engaging, moving fluidly from scene to scene on an almost empty stage, with much of the dialogue delivered in structured verse and laden with the heavy Glaswegian accent. The actors have honed the emotions of the characters well, with the energy and aggression of the younger males well balanced by the quite grief and dignity of the mother and the resigned but stoic presence of the police officer. The gang of lads, populated by local boys, inject a menace into their scene which adds to the overall effect of the four-handed play, and compliments the fine acting of the rest of the cast.

Fleeto is powerful theatre and is illuminating as the backstory for companion piece Wee Andy (also playing this Fringe). It is a revealing, and rather depressing, journey into the world of the lower classes, which are looked down upon and often feared by others; those who have had better chances in life and have not had to endure the forces that work to shape these lads into the thugs they may become.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

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