In Her Corner, theSpace, Edinburgh * * * *
Meanwhile, with a smile as fixed as her eyebrows, the young woman responsible, Ketch, is plotting what she'll do if Claire speaks out.
From the filthy throw of a decrepit sofa, Mikey's Burnett's ganglands drama explores of the power dynamic between a group of knife carrying female gang members on an estate in Pilton. A lively, lairy insight into a world of "wee radges", "hens" and "schemies", it follows Claire, Sarah and Ketch, with their scraped back hair and sportswear, as they control and are controlled by the violence, drugs and crime in the area. Boxing, as is so often the case in such stories, is their only way out.
It's a cracking script with great female characters, well performed by the young cast. The sadistic Ketch, who "hates the shite girls do these days to make men like them," is strangely charismatic in her sociopathic ways. "You look so beautiful when you're scared," she tells Sarah, who believes getting a job as a cleaner is all she can hope for. Needless to say, Sarah's horrified when Claire starts hanging out with she-thinks-she's-better-than-us Angie at the boxing gym. The coach there, Billy, dripping with sweat, sarcasm and an aversion to borderline criminals, isn't best pleased to have her their either. "There's a rage in you," he says to Claire, "And it's not the kind I can nurture into something more positive."
Ultimately a story of female friendship against the odds, it takes the familiar male-dominated boxing narrative and not only focuses it on women, but uses it to say something more complex about how hope can flourish in unlikely circumstances, even if doing the right thing doesn't always lead to being justly rewarded.
Until 23 August