Writer: Henry Naylor
Director: Michael Cabot
Reviewer: R. G. Balgray
Two artists from two different worlds present Henry Naylor’s powerful play Borders at the Gilded Balloon Dining Room. One is the English Sebastian Nightingale, aspiring war photographer; the other is ‘Nameless’, a young Syrian girl painter. The play charts each’s progress.
On a bare set, two stools the only props, the parallel monologues of the two characters paint out their lives. Nightingale, the older of the two, achieves his success, not in shooting dramatic and moving images, but in providing portraits of celebrities (his early mentor sees this as “selling out”). It should be said, though, that this provides most of the lighter moments (and Graham O’Mara handles these well). Its darker times are Syrian. As the tragedy in that land unfolds, ‘Nameless’ directs her early passion for painting into the burgeoning anti-Assad graffiti movement, but at every turn the horror deepens. Avital Lvova invests her character with burning intensity; if there are more powerful performances on the Fringe this year, they must be few in number. As the paths of these contrasting characters begin to converge with a doomed inevitability, the play racks up the tension in the audience, building up to a powerful denouement stunning in its impact.
Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Rosalind Furlong