Burst is a highly ambitious set of interlinked character portraits set in 20s England and Sudan. A visually gorgeous adaption of the Arabic novel Season of Migration to the North, the alternating soundscapes, dances and scenarios exploring the set up of a group of characters drawn together by the Sudan’s establishment as an independent nation. Particularly of note is the intelligent, if technically-imperfect, sound design helping to establish the quick switches between England and Sudan without interfering with the action.From the poster down to the lighting and costumes, Burst is a delightful sensuous experience. The production is at its strongest when action on stage was taking place simultaneously in both countries. The simplistic but effective characterisation of the mother was an anchor point for the audience in the shifting perceptions of the rest of the world the play presents to us one by one.The play is too ambitious for a one-hour Fringe show. The complicated storyline does not have time to unfurl, and the atmospheric scenes such as the wedding dance sequence seem too long compared to the tightly-packed expositional scenes. Some historical aspects of the production jarred - an upper-class accent on a railway clerk, the use of James Joyce as a figure of 20s London glamour - and coupled with the personal nature of the story the exotic post-colonialist setting it is not used to its full potential. The play runs the risk of appearing like a bid for Arts Council funding rather than artistic integrity, but given an extra hour in show time and some talented male actors, perhaps Burst could make a comeback next year as a serious piece of theatre.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard


Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond


The Blurb

When a woman conquers her lover, she breaks him apart, piece by piece. A mysterious and unnerving new play set between jazz age London and colonised Sudan.