theSpace on North Bridge

Flatpack Theatre's new work is a thriving mixture of teenage hormones, misunderstood views on complex politics and a nod to racism, sexuality, national pride and UK foreign policy. It's a broad shot at a lot of topics, and while the show aims high, a few of the ideas fall short of hitting the mark.

A typically hyperactive and overcharged classroom of teens find themselves locked in over their lunch hour by an angry supply teacher. Aside from the immediate concern over missing lunch, and the question of whether the teacher will return at all, the children are vexed by the thought of missing the repatriation of a deceased former classmate.

As the emotional tension builds, old truths begin to come out, as well as a litany of pent-up questions, worries and recriminations. The feeling of disarray climbs as the lunch hour ticks along and the moment of the parade comes ever closer.

It's a great concept, let down slightly by the sheer excess of cast members. Although the acting is fine, several of the students have little or nothing to do for the majority of the play and could easily have had their lines written to other characters. There's also a lack of focus, with a slightly clumsy crowbarring-in of last minute mentions of sexuality and the final well-intentioned but slightly hyper-real descent into a very heavy-handed visual metaphor, which is neither believable nor logical in the suddenness to which it occurs.

Overall, the production is a great example of new writing and talent, in need of a slightly clearer intention and a stronger hand at the helm.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan

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