The Future For Beginners
The Future For Beginners
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When boy meets girl and things start to get serious, making plans for the future can take many forms.
In the case of Jennifer Adams and Matthew Bulgo in this lo-fi musical rom-com for the liveartshow company by Alan Harris, Martin Constantine and composer Harry Blake, that means meticulously cataloguing every detail of every single day of their life together in advance.
She sings operatic arias and might just be a Russian princess. He plays the ukulele and is into Buddhism and skateboarding.
As if such hipster affectations weren't quirky enough, the perfect fantasy life they map out more resembles an obsessive-compulsive disorder-inspired art project than real-life domestic bliss.
It is when things go wrong, however, that things get really interesting in a sweet little construction performed with considerable charm that makes for a show that is about the unexpected surprises which happy-ever-afters can bring.
George Orwell's metaphorical novel about how power can corrupt an initially well-meaning ideal has continued to be as pertinent as it was when it was first published in 1945, as Stalinism raised its ugly, self-serving head.
It is perfect material too, for the substantial cast of the Tumanishvili Film Actors Theatre Company of Tbilisi from Georgia, the birthplace of Stalin himself.
It is a story too that director Guy Masterson knows well from his own solo adaptation, which he has previously performed in Edinburgh.
With some 26 people on stage here, Masterson's production is about as far away from such an intimate rendition as one can get.
Seen on such a scale, it is impossible to avoid something of a school-play feel watching the ensemble moo, honk and cluck its way through proceedings as the animals rise up against their human captors, only to fall victim to an even crueller regime.
Yet for all its seeming scrappiness, there is heart and soul aplenty on show in a work which brings home the universal relevance of Orwell's vision.
Anthem For Doomed Youth
To suggest Guy Masterson's solo reading of poetry from the First World War is a greatest hits show might sound glib given the seriousness of its subject matter.
That is pretty much what Masterson's compendium of works by Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke and their contemporaries is delivering, however.
Neither is this fact to the show's detriment, as Masterson gives grandiloquent performances of Dulce Et Decorum Est, the show's title poem, and a myriad of others.Accompanied only by the occasional sound of falling bombs, Masterson's style reading from a folder is engagingly low-key.
More than merely reading, he occupies each poem intensely, only to step out of character, as it were, once he's done, and chat with the audience.
Given the amount of other far flashier First World War-based material on show in Edinburgh this year in response to the hundredth anniversary of its start, it is testament to Masterson's no-frills approach that he can command the stage and deliver each work with the gravitas it deserves.