Gagarin Way

Gregory Burke

MindFrame Theatre Company

theSpace on the Mile

From 09 August 2015 to 29 August 2015

Rating: *****

Review by Keith Mckenna

Midframe Theatre Company’s impressive production of Gregory Burke’s savage comedy directed by Steph Smart demonstrates how funny and relevant the play still is.

The show bounces confidently from jokes about the incompetence of the central characters to serious debates about politics, recent Scottish history and the influence of the Communist party.

Two workers at what they believe is a Japanese computer firm kidnap a boss in what one of them describes as "a propaganda of the deed", a message of opposition to capitalism. However the company turns out to have been taken over by Americans, the boss they kidnap is no more than a local consultant and their plan is further complicated by the security guard Tom, a graduate student in politics who walks in on the kidnap.

Stewart Kerr gives a powerful performance as the constantly moving, quick-talking factory worker Eddie making him seem both frightening and absurd. James Garvock as the former shop steward ably conveys a sense of restless disillusionment with present politics and the doubts he has about how things might be changed.

The comic timing is perfect, and the pacing of events is fast while remaining utterly sensitive to the seriousness of the issues. The play is both a commentary on, and a blast at, many of the political claims of the period, from the so-called death of protest to the prospects of "unlimited lifestyle choices". To the latter, Eddie says that if his lifestyle choice is unlimited then he chooses a bit more violence.

The audience laughed a great deal at this company’s production in Edinburgh. But they will also I suspect be left unsettled by the sheer lack of any apparent point to Eddie’s protest.