Wee Andy

Paddy Cunneen
Tumult in the Clouds
Pleasance Courtyard

It's difficult to watch Wee Andy as entertainment. Together with its parallel twin Fleeto, Paddy Cunneen's play serves as a terrifying indictment of the knife crime epidemic that has become all too familiar in inner cities the length and breadth of Britain. Choosing to run both pieces at the Fringe allows audiences to experience the contrasts of two completely different but still essentially vital sides of the situation.

Wee Andy is the story of the titular victim, slashed for no reason in a brutal moment of gangland violence. The story is told largely from the perspective of Andy's mother, played by Pauline Knowles, and by Steven McNicoll's chief surgeon. Between them they offer up differing viewpoints of the tragedy, the hard-pressed and cold-nursed fury of a mother's love for her child and the thinly stretched clinical detachment of the surgeon warring with his baser instincts and disgust at the crime.

It makes for harrowing viewing, as the simple use of props which stand in for horrific injuries that are never played down becomes all the more effective. Add to that the terrifying presence of Neil Leiper's brilliant rendition of gang-leader Kenzie, who boils with such unbidden psychopathy that his very presence onstage is frightening. A great production, even better when enjoyed in conjuction with its partner-play.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan