FRINGE THEATRE – Scorch – HST – 4.5K

2017 logoBy Peter Maddern

Belfast born play write Stacy Gregg has given over to performer, Dublin’s Amy McAllister, a complex and at times disturbing tale about sexuality, on line chatting and the justice system. To say more than the program does about the plot risks disclosing too much – it says “McAllister portrays a troubled teenage girl called Kez whose new relationship leads to devastating effects both legally and personally.”

I suspect this play that won high praise at last year’s Edinburgh Festival will intellectually delight audiences here too (at least once you have attuned your ears to Amy’s strong Irish accent.) As much as it explores a developing sense of one’s sexuality as a child starts to mature so too it raises questions about where parental control should cut out when it comes to underage sex, even when seemingly consensual and without any adult involvement, and how the justice system should view such events. It would have been interesting to see how far views diverged on these issues between the school children and the parents present at today’s media preview screening.

Holden_Street_Logo_2-400x400-c-defaultMcAllister produces a vibrant and compelling account of these developing and confusing years presenting many years younger than she is. On the circle stage of Holden Street’s Studio she works all corners of her space, sometimes frightened of her character’s self, sometimes frightening members of her audience with piercing stares; her Kez is a girl on a mission, even it is one possessed of reckless indifference for others, an ambivalence innocently spawned of the on-line chat age.

Martha Lott is to again be praised for identifying such top shelf works for our Fringe from our Scottish cousin’s fare. All aspiring local actors need to see performers like McAllister (and Avital Lvova in Angel) to both see and aspire to the standard they set.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

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