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Fringe theatre: Traverse Breakfast Plays

Fat Alice

Fat Alice

Traverse Theatre

WHEN the crack that appears in the ceiling of a woman who has been conducting a ten-year affair with a married man threatens to turn into something bigger, it becomes a metaphor for how easy it is for entire worlds to come crashing down if you allow them to run to seed.

Issues of body image, fear of commitment and the willingness to acquiesce to others all rear their chocolate-fuelled head in Alison Carr's absurdist tragicomedy, the fourth play in the mini-season of Traverse Breakfast Plays directed by Traverse associate director Emma Callander, as script-in-hand, work-in-progress productions.

There are contemporary shades of Ionesco in the audacious largesse of Carr's script, which would make a wonderful radio piece while offering some potentially tantalising technical and design choices for any future full stage production.

As it stands, Keith Fleming and Meg Fraser spar furiously in a domestic tug of war where comfort eating can bring the house down with big-toed abandon.

Repeated August 22

Mother Ease

Traverse Theatre

ANGELA and Fiona have very different ideas about child-care. Yet somehow the pair have ended up together in Angela's high-rise flat, with Fiona seemingly there to offer guidance on how Fiona should be raising her new baby Aidan. At the opposite ends of the social spectrum, the two women don't exactly bond, but form a brittle alliance of need, especially in the face of Jim, the father of Angela's other child. It is when the two women enter the house of Marie, however, where the full tragic consequences of an entire class being allowed to slip through the cracks of an already broken system are tragically brought home.

After five days of Traverse Breakfast Plays, Molly Innes' new play is a devastating thing to wake up to. Unremittingly bleak, it is a forensic dramatic dissection of a part of society we only ever hear about when things go wrong. When it is Fiona rather than Angela who finds something to believe in with Jim at the play's end, it is all too telling of how broken things have become in a damning and fearlessly serious affair.

Repeated August 23.

Walter

Traverse Theatre

GROWING old disgracefully was never on the cards for Gloria, the woman on the verge of something or other in Lachlan Philpott's magnificent rom-com with a twist that forms the final selection of this year's Traverse Breakfast Plays Season.

When Gloria's sister Sheena sets her up on a blind date at the zoo, she meets Walter, who is not her type, but who she ends up dating anyway. It is a very different kind of wild life, however, that she ends up discovering with Walter and his foxy friends.

This is quirkily off-kilter as it gets as Philpott explores the odder side of the dating and mating game through a strange set of characters. With Andy Clark suitably goofy in the title role, Meg Fraser steals the show in a delightfully deadpan portrayal of Gloria that proves to be one of the highlights of the season.

Repeated August 24

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