Writers: Hannah Ringham & Glen Neath
Directors: Glen Neath, Hannah Ringham & Louise Mari
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
Is it a homage to an 80s house party or to the 80s Conservative Party is a question that springs to mind midway through Die or Run as an early drug-fuelled stream of consciousness on all that was good about the decade that gave us Dallas, big hair and New Order gives way to a disturbingly accurate compilation of Margaret Thatcher’s self-help, anti-community mantras and the repetitive beats that have been keeping the show and party going are replaced with an echoing silence as the accompaniment to the words.
The truth is that the show is possibly an homage to both of these things and neither of them. Hannah Ringham and Glen Neath’s script captures the contradictions of a decade that bought high levels of unemployment and political protests, alongside musical and social hedonism and the rise of the political ideology that led on to the fractured and divided societies of the present day.
It’s a solo performance by Ringham who manages to fill the large and empty space of the Emerald Theatre in Greenside Square with the force of her words and the unhinged nature of her delivery. Starting by sitting amongst the audience as the opening bars of New Order’s Temptation play on repeat, she taps her feet, nods her head and sings the refrain oblivious to her surroundings, before launching into the first parts of the nostalgia trip.
The acid house style love and rambling recollections start to get swamped with and dominated by Thatcher’s words as the show progresses, in much the same way as the woman herself came to stamp her presence over the decade.
The real impact of the production come in the closing section however where the early confidence and sense of invincibility is replaced by someone facing a life on her own that she seems ill-prepared for.
More performance art than play, it picks a unique way to make it’s point and get the audience to reflect on it. Anyone looking for a strong through-line or coherent political debate will leave disappointed, but anyone wanting a production that takes risks and is not afraid to go out on a limb will feel they’ve discovered a show that captures the true spirit of the Fringe.
Runs until 24 August 2019 | Image: Floro Azqueta