Home / Drama / Edinburgh Fringe: Gotcha! – theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Edinburgh Fringe: Gotcha! – theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Writer: Charles Barron

Director: Charles Barron

Reviewer: Deborah Klayman

[rating:1.5]

If Gotcha! was to be summed up in one word it would be: interminable. Ninety five minutes of jumbled, vaguely connected characters waxing lyrical on a range of topics from Scottish drinking culture to the war in Afganistan, this piece is shot through with examples of racism and a shoe-horned in attempt to look at sectarianism.

The main problem with this production is the writing and staging. Paul Hughson, makes a valiant attempt at making it watchable, playing eight disparate characters that he delineates fairly well. Unfortunately – lacking as it does any real direction – Hughson is hung out to dry between each as he changes (at length) on stage without so much as a change in lighting state or incidental music to cover it. Ernie the traffic warden, who is the first character the audience meet and the one returned to most often, initially talks about the death of British industry with a worrisome reference to Hitler (he had the right idea…about cars) and other racist and xenophobic terms. While we can make an educated guess that writer/director Charles Barron is not a bigot and is making a point – the blurb says the piece ‘tackles narrow-mindedness’ – his attempt to do so is so muddied that it leaves you unsure of the intention.

In addition to Ernie, we meet grandson Davy, Ernie’s daughter-in-law, an MSP, a doctor, a Celtic hooligan, an Afgani woman and a TV interviewee. There is one nice touch when Davy’s mother is given the news that he is missing, then the speech is repeated almost exactly by the Afgani mother. Barron perhaps has interesting ideas, but there are too many crammed into this one piece, and with no staging to speak off and little stagecraft this piece is overlong and fails to hang together as a play.

Until 25th August

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