Edinburgh 2018: BWW Review: AH DINNAE KEN, TheSpace
Take Shakespeare's star-crossed epic, Romeo and Juliet, and set it in a not too distant future in Scotland when a second independence referendum has been called. Picture two families, on both sides of the debate, and how far they might go to win their cause this time around.
Student Theatre At Glasgow (STAG) present an amusing political comedy, imagining the extremes of the two camps if we were to go through #indyref2. Written and directed by Maddie Beautyman, Ah Dinnae Ken explores what might happen if Yes Scotland supporters decided to murder around 6% of No voters in order to swing the vote their way.
Two individuals within the two opposing families, Julie and Hugo find themselves alone in their own family homes. Neither want another vote and wish to do all they can to protect their families and each other.
The six-member cast play a variety of characters. The two "independent independent" news broadcasters Jackie and Bird narrate proceedings and prompt many chuckles from the audience with their mannerisms.
The other four actors play the two families, using effective costume changes from yellow to blue to differentiate them. The in-the-round staging surrounds a simple kitchen as the setting for the two homes.
As a nod to the inspirational text, snippets of the Bard's play are used, be it something said on the TV or sections of narrative repeated for artistic (or sarcastic) effect. The political divide in Scotland proves to be a natural alternative context to frame the familiar love story.
The cast garner many laughs from the crowd as they convey larger-than-life quirks to distinguish the characters they play - the two sets of parents in particular.
Beautyman's direction ensures the audience on all sides are part of the action, and particularly slick movement direction helps builds the tension in the final showdown between the families and create highly amusing exchanges with timely entrances.
While it's certainly hoped that a second referendum would not lead to such circumstances, Ah Dinnae Ken is a highly imaginative piece of political storytelling.
Photo credit: STAG