The Traverse have dropped Beats on the Fringe straight off the back of a hit run at the Arches, and it’s set to go down a storm.
You don’t need to have your glow sticks at the ready, but you should come braced for thumping beats, strobe lights, and a rather late night. As you file into your seats, the DJ will already be playing a Rave Nation type soundtrack that throws you straight back to the nineties. When Kieran Hurley takes to the stage, graphic prints swirl above him to add a neon-coloured context to his monologue. Not that it needs it.
Hurley delivers his masterful, self-penned script at quickfire speed and with a blistering energy, but you won’t find it difficult to keep up. His monologue tells the story of a first time raver Livingston schoolboy, Johno McCreadie. The play hurtles through Johno playing Zelda in his bedroom to taking his first E and dancing in a field, before coming down hard in the backseat of his mum’s car on the way home from the police station. More significantly, it captures how the rave, like other condemned youth subcultures, gave a working class teenage boy a place in society; until, of course, society deemed that place to be unlawful.
Hurley is a gifted, practically hypnotic, storyteller and has produced an intelligent script that’s finely tuned to the pace and period of the plot. He has the ability to shapeshift into a wide range of characters, playing Johno’s clock-watching mother and his wayward mate Spanner with equal understanding and sensibility. The result is an electric hour of theatre that is both thought probing and genuinely exciting.
If you’ve signed on for an 11 pm play with a promise of ‘lots of techno’, then chances are that you know what you’re getting and Beats won’t disappoint.