So we have fifty minutes between the end of Belfast Boy and the start of Thief – the 20:00 show tonight Saturday 15th August at the Sweet International 2 Venue on Grassmarket. This is what the official blurb says: “Winner: Brighton Fringe Best Theatrical Performance award 2014. Sailor thrives in the bars, dives and doss-houses of the most squalid ports. Look, you will see him. Sailor lives for robbery, imprisonment and expulsion. Be his victim. Sailor’s virtues are simple: rent, theft, and betrayal. Join him. ‘Great drama has the power to inform, move and make shifts in consciousness. Thief has all this.’ ***** (Sarah Agnew, Brighton Argus). ‘Sensational. Ferocious. Acted with great intensity. A memorable hour of theatre.’ (Joyce McMillan, Scotsman). ‘Tantalisingly layered, cloaked in the dreamy mingling of pain, sex and desire.’ (BroadwayBaby.com).”
What seems most curious about this production is that I understand it’s another one-man play but there are three actors who each take on the role of the sailor. Do they job-share? Do they draw lots as to who will perform on any particular day? Do they take turns? And are you meant to return on a different night to see it performed by a different actor to appreciate the differences in performance? Hard to do that unless you know who is going to perform in advance – so it could be either Matt Robertson, Jack Elliot or Stephen Humpage. Further research reveals that it should have been Stephen Humpage tonight but that he has sustained some head injury (hope he’s ok!) and that it will in fact be Jack Elliot playing the role tonight.
Another show that was a great hit last year (and that we didn’t see then), it’s written by Liam Rudden who is, inter alia, Entertainment Editor at the Edinburgh Evening News, so he ought to know a thing or two about what makes a good play. Inspired by the life of Jean Genet, and having read the reviews of last year’s production, I’m expecting this play to be fairly brutal and shocking; but also to give plenty of opportunities for the actor to take it by the scruff of the neck and make something really memorable out of it. Come back shortly after 9pm to see what I made of it, and by then the next preview blog should be online.
Wow that was strong. A really bold and passionate performance that laid the character bare and challenged you to side with or against him. A poetic piece too, a testament to survival. Harrowing at times and often uncomfortable but really really good.