The Scotsman

A New Internatio­nal: A Night at the Theatre


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
Partly live concert, partly work-in-progress performanc­e

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