Theatre review: The OS Map Fan Club

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: 'Nice shoes,' says Helen Wood. I would tell her they are lightweight and waterproof with Vibram soles '“ but she probably knows this anyway: she is, after all, wearing a quick-release rucksack.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53)

***

She has also been studying the Ordnance Survey (OS) map since she was a child. In this audience, the mere mention of Google maps gets a spontaneous boo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During the show, she takes us on a walk – highlighted on a giant map – with her husband and dog, stopping off to tell amusing anecdotes about the history of the OS and childhood hikes. As she meets other map enthusiasts, it quickly becomes apparent that they have something in common: they’re all men. Indeed, it sometimes feels like funny, amiable, relaxed Helen is making a feminist statement simply by putting on this show.

Exploring sexism via mapmaking is a brilliant idea that it would be great to see developed further. In one sequence, the OS map also becomes a vehicle for the kind of flag-waving nostalgia reinvigorated by Brexit. A deeper analysis of how geography defines who we are is also tantalisingly under-explored – skimmed over in favour of a simpler celebration of spatial awareness and all of us who love it.

Until 12 August. Today 11:55am.