Fringe Theatre

Atlantic: A Scottish Story/America & The Great War

Assembly Hall

Marianne Gunn

five stars

FROM Forest Boy and Freak Show in 2013 to The Girl Who in 2014, musical theatre partnership Noisemaker (Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie) have a successful Fringe history with their alma mater, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This year, however, they have collaborated with fellow creatives across the pond (from Northwestern University in Chicago) to explore the transatlantic experience. Although both "parts" work as stand-alone pieces of theatre, it is their connectedness which really resonates and makes the interweaved new writing and music soar.

A Scottish Story focuses on the diaspora from islands such as Skye but interestingly from the perspective of someone who is left behind: a young red-headed girl Evie, played by a wholly captivating Caroline Lyell. A childhood flirtation with Quinn (Reed Lancaster) is devoured by the mighty Atlantic when her "sidekick" goes to find his fortune in Dublin, New York and beyond. This piece is perfectly pitched for the home and tourist market and McKenzie's compositions blending traditional Scottish folk and a more contemporary choral sound pack quite an emotional punch.

America & The Great War features performers from Northwestern's American Music Theatre Project alongside their RCS peers. Composed by Christopher Anselmo, it tells the story of two sisters, Jane and Annabelle (Mariah Copeland and Abigail Stephenson, respectively) who find themselves on either side of the great ocean during the First World War. Family loyalties are tested as a sibling searches for truth in this insightful piece.

Sharing the same venue with the main-stage RCS musical (Into the Woods) this year should mean some of the hardest working performers on the Fringe benefit from cross promotion too. You can see Atlantic's Scottish offering at 3pm on odd days and an American tale on even ones.

Run ends August 26/27.