Director: Guy Hollands
Script Editor: Martin Travers
Composer: Finn Anderson
Movement: Jen Egdar
Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald
One of 50 new works commissioned by Sky Arts, The Citizens Theatre Community set out to explore changing identity in a post-Brexit Britain in Come Hell or High Water. What resulted was a raw, exploratory journey into the psyche of Glasgow as it fights and rejoices in the EU referendum result and all the consequences arising from it.
This company-devised hour-long production is not so much a piece of drama, but rather an insight into the consciousness of the assorted masses. From an underscored prelude, the piece is quick to hold its audience and does its best to keep their attention. The piece is presented as a series of scenes and sketches, rather than a fully formed play.
The talent on stage is rich. No individual cast member is singled out to be any more significant than another; each is presented without comment or judgement. This allows its audience to engage in each part without being bogged down on the political statements that they may agree or disagree with.
The subject matter, Brexit, is heavy, convoluted and politically loaded. Full credit must be given to Martin Travers, script editor, and Guy Hollands’ direction, ensuring this piece serves as a captivating contrast to its subject matter. Their creative decisions offer some truly touching moments, placed alongside some superbly drafted comedy. The script is clever, offering a number of insatiable puns that could as easily be at home at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as on the Citz Studio floor. Contrasting these, scenes involving refugees and immigrants are cutting. Whilst allowing humour, there is no schmaltz, so to let the stories stand alone. Finn Anderson’s bespoke compositions beautifully wrap the piece. Particularly strong in its finale, the cast prove they are as delightful in chorus as in their respective roles.
Come Hell or High Water is far from polished; it is rough, ready and rugged in places. This adds to the charm of the piece, rather than detracting from its value. It does not shy away from dealing with difficult issues and offers a balanced look inside those who live and work around the Govan streets that envelop the theatre itself. This is a powerful piece that is a joy to sit through – well worth catching on its limited run.
Runs until 24 March 2018 | Image: Contributed