The Addams Family – Festival Fringe 2019 Preview

Running from August 3rd – August 10th at Paradise in Augustines. Tickets available from: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/addams-family-1

Following on from their sell-out production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown“, Bare Productions return to the Festival Fringe with The Addams Family. The macabre family who make our own seem downright dull.

Proven to have a respectful place within Edinburgh’s amateur theatre circle, Bare Productions has only been around for two years, yet already they’ve made an impression. With their previous show receiving rave reviews, things are only looking positive for this year’s production.

The multi-award-winning team of authors Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice and composing lyricist Andrew Lippa brought the kooky, bleak and melancholy family of musical theatre into a fresh new narrative. The usual Mistress of Darkness, Wednesday Addams, made infamous with Christina Ricci’s cinematic portrayal finds herself in love. Yup, you read that correctly, and with a normal, chipper young man from middle-class suburbia no less.

A production which promises dance, song and humour, Bare Productions have a pleasing show for us all. Directed by Dominic Lewis, featuring the choreography of Felicity Thomas, The Addams Family will be that dark corner of the Fringe you’ll be dying to join.

Featuring a cast of local talent, Bare Productions are eager to make a second impression at this year’s Festival. Sticking within the realms of musical comedies, they’re hoping The Addams Family will provide this. With one look at the costume design, and musical director Finlay Turnball proving himself last year, we look forward to seeing how The Addams Family will turn out.

With a limited run towards the beginning of the Fringe, it is highly advisable to *dah-nah-nah-nah* snap up a ticket.

Images provided by Gavin Smart

The Vagina Monologues – Festival Theatre, The Studio

Play by Eve Ensler

Information relating to the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Charity can be found at their website: https://www.ercc.scot

Say it with me everyone: “Vagina”. Say it even louder for the men in the back. The Vagina Monologues, for all its criticism, may be one of the most influential theatrical texts ever put into production. There’s a reason why two decades later it is still built upon. July 7th saw a reading of Eve Ensler’s episodic play which looks into female body image, sexual experiences (consensual and non), sex work and a variety of other topics. Monologues from the play focus on sexual assault, comfort women and body image are given a platform in aid of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, with 100% of all profits benefiting the charity.

Despite a mere two weeks rehearsal time, the five performers onstage channel a staggering level of commitment, professionalism and heart. Their performances are nothing short of heart-wrenching. Not only because of their embedded talents, but a tremendous amount lies in the fact that these women aren’t acting, despite the accents, the laughs and the characters. The stories they are telling, the cause they are hosting this evening for – is their lives.

In aid of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, the reading is compressed into appropriate material to remain on subject. There’s a clever balance of topic foundation, easing those unfamiliar before communicating the facts, hatreds and degeneracy of reality. For over forty years, ERCC continues to provide emotional, mental and practical support for women, non-binary, young people and the trans community. As if this service wasn’t enough, they engage with a plethora of preventative discussion, information and much-sought advocacy for those who have experienced sexual violence at any time in their life.

Every year, a new ‘chapter’ is added into The Vagina Monologues following the inspiration day known as V-Day. In 2006, a segment on Comfort Women was added, this is what closes out our performance – tightening the link between the chosen text and tonight’s charity. Last year TIME magazine tore open a subject many prefer to forget, the ‘punishment’ many women faced following the Second World War. The sequence is nothing short of a mountainous emotional smack of truth. All of the frustrations and agony women suffer placed on the floor in-front of us with the utterance “now what”. Anyone who has given their time for the evening has done something noteworthy, from the performers to the lighting operators and of course, the front of the house.

A heap of gratitude is to be given to Capital Theatres and Linda from customer service who listened to one women’s cry of: “I’m angry, and I need to do something about this”. Help is precisely what we in a creative community can strive to do. We have a position of accessibility, a presence to mobilise and a space to offer those who not only have a production to stage, but a message to encourage and even better a charity to empower.

Productions like these make you want to write. They make you want to type furiously for days and days and weeks and years until something, anything is done. There’s only so far outrage can extend before action is the response. Because here’s the secret. People are tired. They’re tired of rape culture, rape jokes and judicial decisions on what constitutes rape. We’re tired of putting our keys between our knuckles on a late walk home. Tired of seeing wealthy, ‘good family’ men walk free, and we’re beyond exhausted of the shaming, punishment and hushed words around women who courageously come forward.

I use the term ‘we’ rather than women because it is we. It’s you, me and everyone you know. This evening isn’t only about performance. It’s a rallying call that after all this time, we still need to have charity evenings like this. One day, The Vagina Monologues will (hopefully) stage its performances for history, rather than to protect the future. It will be staged as a way to remind ourselves what we fought for, instead of what we are still fighting for.

Until then, dig deep. Donate your time, your money and offer your support to the likes of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre. Sometimes it isn’t all about the money. You can help challenge abusive behaviour, encourage and support others to speak out – but most importantly to believe those who come to you disclosing sexual violence. This evening isn’t solely about the harrows of life, but the joys in coming together to establish a conversation. From a women’s first period, to the thrill in discovering her body – and the insecurities around this. You’ll be left curious, angry, empowered, enraged and have had a few chuckles too.

And if, like these five young women you are able – perform. Write, sing, shriek, holler, dance – do whatever we can to keep these stories alive and in the faces of those who would rather they faded into obscurity. That’s precisely what an archaic system would like – silence. So, let’s say it one last time: “Vagina”, because nothing upsets the Patriarchy quite like a pussy which roars.

Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group are revitalising Joan of Arc – The Lark

Image Contribution: EGTG

The Lark
Performances 4th – 8th June, 7:30pm Bellfield, Portobello
Tickets £12 advance, £15 on the door www.theegtg.com

Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group (EGTG) intend to capture the passion, ferocity and fires of Joan of Arc by staging their contemporary translation of Jean Anouilh’s The Lark in Bellfield, Portobello from June 4th – 8th at 19:30pm.

It is one of the world’s lengthiest wars. A peasant girl of seventeen leads an army of men into battle, claiming victory against the English, shaping France’s future. Her rise to prominence was instructed by the Lord, or was it simply her own ambition? She did not meet her end in battle, however, instead consumed by the flames of her suppressors. Unable to find her guilty of actual crimes, her patriarchal enemies found her guilty of, what else? What she was wearing.

Living through an entirely different, though no less severe war the translation from Jean Anouilh sought to inspire French identity following WWII. A contemporary translation from Gill Taylor is now receiving a Scottish Premiere looking to recapture the will and passion of Joan for a modern audience.

Image contribtuion: EGTG

Director Clare Wood states that; “Although Joan lived and died nearly 600 years ago, her story feels incredibly current”. Citing young women’s fight against the blindness of contemporary world leaders. In a society where women’s ‘behaviour’ is still called into question, Joan of Arc is perhaps the most poignant choice they could have made.

Noted for their determination to produce challenging texts, one of the city’s most respected amateur companies is reviving Joan, bringing solidity to legend. Promising a choir, playlist and house band set to inject fire into the blood, Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group are primed to bring fifteenth-century revolution to Scotland.

Staging could not be more appropriate within Bellfield, a previous house of worship. EGTG are humbled at producing the first piece of theatre for the venue, paving the way for future productions staged in the Celebration Hall.

Image contribution: EGTG

The Lark
Performances 4th – 8th June, 7:30pm Bellfield, Portobello
Tickets £12 advance, £15 on the door www.theegtg.com