EDINBURGH 2016 - BWW Review: THE WALL, theSpace on the Mile, 27 August
The story of a summer in rural Ayrshire, D.C Jackson's debut play The Wall is revived by Corby Productions at this year's Fringe. Four teenagers experience love, family tribulations, and impending exam results together at the eponymous hangout spot for the young people of Stewarton. Jackson's script sparkles with warm humour and its characters and situations are immediately recognisable to anyone who grew up in a rural town.
The four characters of the piece are confidently and capably portrayed by a quartet of young performers. AiDan James Harkins manages some incredibly tricky fast-paced dialogue with aplomb as Barry, dealing with the awkwardness of first love. Eilidh Loan was magnificently authentic as his chavvy younger sister Norma, while Francesco Piacentini-Smith showcases irresistible charm as the self-confessed bam Rab, who is smarter than he lets on.
Barry's romantic interest Michelle (Stephanie Lynn Hay) shows great comic timing, whether in realisation of her mum's sexuality or in bemoaning the thought of having to move to the Ayrshire coast, which may as well be the other side of the world to a teenager in love. All four keep the pace rocketing along with plenty of laughs along the way.
There are a couple of odd moments added in to this production: at the beginning and ending the cast join together in a rendition of "The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond" - well sung, but a strange choice for a play set in Ayrshire. There is also a shouty policeman who pops up a couple of times for no apparent reason. These seem a little muddled and unconnected to the narrative. Nevertheless, it does not detract too much from a skilfully handled take on a witty and entertaining script.
The Wall has now finished its run.