In one sense, the most remarkable thing about the closing weekend of this year’s great Hidden Door festival at Leith Theatre was the audience, who turned up in their thousands to experience a great building brought back to life by a remarkable team of arts volunteers; and if the queues outside the building’s various small performance spaces were any guide, they also have an appetite for theatre.
The Dwelling Place ****
Ego Et Al ***
Both Leith Theatre
The final weekend saw a range of works-in-progress, workshops and full performances, including a welcome revival of James and Lewis Wardrop’s The Dwelling Place, a fine and vivid show-cum-installation that uses film, still photography, sound, live music and ceilidh-style storytelling to explore the ideas unleashed when the brothers walked into an uninhabited house in Leverburgh, Harris, to find most of the former inhabitant’s belongings still there, slowly decaying.
Roanna Davidson’s Ego Et Al, by contrast, is a hugely vivid solo performance and game show, in which the audience are divided into four teams – the lucky, the beautiful, the brave and the talented – and invited to become corporate trainees in the business of handling our own image. Davidson’s script sometimes seems a tad confused, as it moves through this not-unfamiliar territory. Yet her performance is vivid and witty, her gorgeous game-show-host coat an interactive artwork in itself; and she leaves her audience thoroughly entertained – although perhaps not much wiser about our multi-layered problems of identity, in the age when an online profile can become an alternative self.