A New In­ter­na­tional: A Night at the Theatre

The Scotsman - - Reviews - DAVID POL­LOCK

Tra­verse Theatre, Ed­in­burgh

NOT so much the billed night at the theatre as a night in the theatre bar, this low-key but very well-at­tended show was partly a live con­cert by the Glas­gow-based baroque in­die troupe A New In­ter­na­tional,

and partly an ex­tremely early work-in-progress per­for­mance of a col­lab­o­ra­tion between the group and the Van­ish­ing Point theatre com­pany un­der the direc­tion of Matthew Len­ton. It had first been seen the week be­fore at Glas­gow’s Glad Café as part of Celtic Con­nec­tions, and singer Biff Smith joked that darker ma­te­rial like The Sailors and the Whores had to be ex­cised from the chil­dren’s mati­nee.

The live gig as­pect was very much to the fore, with pauses here and there for spo­ken vi­gnettes read by ac­tors Pauline Gold­smith and Peter Kelly, and writ­ten by Len­ton. While this lat­ter el­e­ment seemed very much like the

part which was be­ing work­shopped, the ac­tors took to their roles as “drunk and stoned” fallen an­gels, part storytelle­rs and part char­ac­ter ac­tors, with a sense of ap­pro­pri­ately soot-black Vic­to­rian hu­mour.

The­mu­sicwhichth­e­p­lanned play will even­tu­ally build around, how­ever, ap­pears to need no up­dat­ing. With a full band in­clud­ing a small brass sec­tion sur­round­ing him, the gravel-voiced and vividly the­atri­cal Smith ap­peared born to play a star­ring role in Cabaret, although he noted that it’s Ron Moody from Oliver! who runs “in my DNA”.

He yelped his way through the fe­ro­ciously jolly Give Me Fu­nand­de­liv­ered­abeau­ti­fully ex­pres­sive vo­cal per­for­mance on Let Us Not Speak of Sin. Had they been selling ad­vance tick­ets for the com­pleted show, they would doubt­less have sold a few.

Partly live con­cert, partly work-in-progress per­for­mance

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