Theatre review: Boswell, PQA Venues @ Riddle's Court, Edinburgh

Some unusually atmospheric technical work and skilful playing drive this ambitious “love letter to Scotland” by American playwright Marie Kohler.

It takes a lot of guts for an American company to stage a show about Boswell in his hometown of Edinburgh
It takes a lot of guts for an American company to stage a show about Boswell in his hometown of Edinburgh

Boswell, PQA Venues @ Riddle's Court (Venue 277) * * *

Twin timelines are intertwined as 1950s postgraduate student Joan Weinstein (Abbey Siegworth) is sent to Scotland to further her studies on Dr Samuel Johnson (Brian Mani).

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Discovering a wealth of unpublished material by Johnson’s biographer, James Boswell (Brian Gill) her journey parallels Johnson and Boswell’s tour of the outer Hebrides.

It takes a lot of guts for an American company to stage a show about Boswell in his hometown of Edinburgh, but the cast - many pulling double and triple duty - are remarkably adept at switching between American, English and Scots accents, often at the literal drop of a hat.

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Imaginatively directed by Kohler herself and Laura Gordon (who also essays a number of roles) it employs slides and possibly every single lighting cue at their disposal to add atmosphere but, so evident is their enthusiasm for their subject, you imagine that the actual location where they’re performing is the best backdrop of all.

Until 25 August