Theatre review: Out Of The Bad

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Celebrations of Scottish working class history are relatively rare on the Fringe.

New Town Theatre (Venue 7)


Yet in the basement of the old Freemason’s Hall in George Street, here are Fair Pley Productions and Unite the Union, presenting a gentle and thoughtful short play by Anne Hogg to mark the 30th anniversary of the ­Caterpillar Occupation, when 1200 workers in Uddingston, near Glasgow, staged a work-in at the plant which had promised them secure jobs and massive investment, only to reverse the decision within weeks and announce complete closure.

There’s old footage of the rallies and news reports surrounding the occupation; and then the play opens, 30 years on, in the kitchen of Mary’s house, where one of the veteran women supporters of the strike is recovering after a riotous reunion night out with the girls. Her 30-year-old daughter Danni arrives, with worrying news about Mary’s best friend; and for a while – as they field calls and texts from various menfolk – the two women sit and chat and reflect on 30 years of working-class history in Lanarkshire, on how things have changed, and how they remain the same.

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There’s nothing ­conclusive about Hogg’s play, and nothing very complex.

Yet the mere act of remembering that long-gone struggle, and the voices of the women who supported it, seems radical in itself; and in Sarah McCardie’s ­production, Kate Donnelly and Keira ­Lucchesi deliver a warm and completely credible pair of performances, as well-shaped as they are heartfelt.

Until tomorrow. Today 3:25pm.

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