The Pride Plays: Captivity @ Traverse Theare

Image Contribution:
Shift Theatre

Created by Drew Taylor-Wilson

Theatre isn’t as diverse and accommodating as it ought it be – it has just as many issues with representation as film or TV. One company looking to change that is Shift Theatre Company with their launch of Scotland’s first LGBTQI+ Playwrights’ festival, Pride Plays, featuring Drew Taylor-Wilson’s black comedy Captivity.

Captivity plays around with a fascinating concept: that forcing two subjects of the same identifying sex into an enclosed space will lead to them exhibiting traits appertaining to homosexuality (for ‘research’). It’s about falling in love (or lust) and the notion thaat cynics, or those obsessed with a ‘gay agenda’, are delusional to their own sexuality. 

Its weakness lies in the drive for tension – it’s a developing piece which invests heavily in its performers. The script, setting out these issues, is tight but seems too fearful of its audience becoming distracted. We’re taken in by these characters – we care about them. What we don’t need is forced drama in the final 15 minutes. The sci-fi element of the script is pushed too firmly with locked houses and forced sexual situations.

Despite being a rehearsed reading, there is movement – though it seems unnecessary. The performances range in their comedic delivery, with the likes of Colin Jamieson and Neshla Caplan offering witty remarks throughout. David Paisley’s portrayal of the secluded Ben sells the climax. His desire to remain shut away results in a combustion of emotion so stirring that it sucker-punches from the dark. 

Pride Plays is allowing creators such as Taylor-Wilson the ability to thrust their stories to an audience who may never have had the chance to hear them. With their first outing at the Traverse a seeming success we look forward to a wealth of unsung writers, performers and talent stretching their wings and ruffling some feathers. 

Original Run: Ended

Review originally published for The Skinny:
https://www.theskinny.co.uk/theatre/shows/reviews/the-pride-plays-captivity-traverse-theatre-edinburgh