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EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: HOW TO BE BRAVE, Roundabout @ Summerhall

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: HOW TO BE BRAVE, Roundabout @ Summerhall

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: HOW TO BE BRAVE, Roundabout @ SummerhallHow To Be Brave, written by Sian Owen and performed with boundless energy by Laura Dalgleish, is the greatest bedtime story a scared little girl could hear.

When she was little, Katie was brave. But adult life has a way of knocking the bravery out of you, and now Katie is a mum she needs to find her brave again - a new kind of brave that inspires brave in others.

It's a madcap, feminist adventure that begins when Katie flees her mother's house, leaving responsibility behind her. Dalgleish performs as if she's your best friend recounting her out-of-the-ordinary day as things get more and more extreme.

As she runs, then cycles, around Newport, we are pulled back into moments of Katie's childhood. In the low-tech space, the transitions are done by simple movements, and it works. It all gets a bit ridiculous in the very best way as Katie relives a moment of childhood fear, performing a dance routine on a roundabout that once made her freeze.

We land at Katie's Nan's front door, and though she is no longer there, her advice shines through to the adult Katie. Owen's script moves us seamlessly back and forth in time, managing to never lose its energy.

With advice from her nan, and help from the school bully, Katie - and the audience with her - is pulled back to reality. Owen's script combined with Dalgleish's performance creates the emotional punch at just the right moment. The pace throughout is spot on.

The city of Newport is the second strongest voice in this piece. Early on, Katie finds a book of "Notable People of Newport" featuring only 11 women. But it is Newport and its women that is celebrated here, and they're the bravest bunch of all.


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