Theatre review: Blood And Gold, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

If the legacy of colonialism is a huge theme in Edinburgh this year, then no show on the Fringe addresses that legacy, and Scotland’s involvement in it, more directly than Mara Menzies’s Blood And Gold, a glittering, beautiful and disturbing one-hour monologue by one of Scotland’s leading theatre artists of African heritage.

Blood and Gold, Scottish Storytelling Centre

Blood And Gold, Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30) * * * *

The imagery of the three or four stories she tells – they sometimes nestle magically inside one another like Russian dolls, making it hard to say exactly where one ends and the next begins – is African, rich with gods and demons and mysterious winds on which mothers can hear their children speak from thousands of miles away.

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Yet their content is often powerfully linked to this 21st century moment, as one heroic figure after another – mostly female, sometimes male – fights against The Shadow, a force of mischief and evil that destroys happiness, joy and innocence, and drains the colour from the world.

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And although Menzies’ treatment of these varied stories sometimes seems a little too similar in tone, the sheer radiance of her presence, and the rich beauty of Isla Menzies’ production, backed by Dave House’s fine sound design, make this a show well worth watching, for everyone who cares about Africa and the history of colonialism there, or about Scotland’s complex past, and its future.

Until 26 August.