Glue

You may think the title is a joke. It’s not. Glue: three short plays about spermatozoa, by student playwright Rory Platt,directly probes some of the basic questions at the heart of human reproduction. The name of the show has certainly led to some interesting flyering techniques, and some even more interesting reactions. Actors running around in giant egg and sperm costumes are not the usual quota on the Royal Mile, even at the Fringe. Glue is uneven in its pacing and staging but redeemed by its witty dialogue and unusual approach.

Glue showcases some excellent new student writing, which raises some salient points about society, sex, siring and sperm.

The first play, Pax Materna is probably the weakest. Set in a strange sperm-centric dystopia, two prospective mothers are subject to a number of trials to prove their maternal mettle. They must fill out forms and perform practical exercises with dolls in order to gain access to that most rare and fecund of fluids. An ideological impasse soon arises between the characters - one is an idealist (Holly Gorne), the other a ruthless opportunist (Victoria Hingley). The play’s climax sees a baby and a knife cradled together in the hands of the latter. She announces the rise of “a new motherhood.” She is a “tiger-mother, who rips and tears.” The lights go down as a Big Brother voice issues from the speakers a final time. The sperm is delivered; the two women must fight for it. This piece does not hit the mark conceptually. We do not know enough about this strange world to get a nuanced grasp on character and motive. Creating worlds and societies takes time and the play suffers from its brevity.

The second play, Siring, takes the form of a monologue. It could be lifted straight from Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads in its form, subject matter and turn of phrase. A disillusioned, lonely, gay schoolteacher (Jack Chisnall) reveals his obsession with pupil Malcolm Sneed while railing against the gentrification and uniformity of the education system. Chisnall’s delivery is good despite a rather dodgy northern accent. The writing is particularly strong in this piece, rammed full of one-liners and gritty eloquence. This piece operates on the simplest concept and is the most entertaining. Platt demonstrates a remarkable capacity for making dialogue and shows an astute awareness of rhythm and pacing in order to tease out the sexual dissatisfaction of the character.

The Achrosome Reaction, the final piece in this wacky trilogy, is the most bizarre. The lights go up and we are treated to the sight of two actors dressed as a giant egg and sperm. Gareth the sperm (Jack Taylor) takes his task of dramatically recreating the tech-specs of reproduction very seriously, opting to lick Greta the egg (Alannah Jones). The disgruntled Greta responds by yelling, “We’re not sex maniacs, we’re gametes!” This line captures the absurdity of the piece, which is interesting if not groundbreaking in its exploration of society’s closeted relationship with the science surrounding sex.

Glue showcases some excellent new student writing, which raises some salient points about society, sex, siring and sperm. Worth seeing for anyone who enjoys their sex education served up quip by quip.

Reviews by Sarah Grice

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Glue

★★★
Assembly Hall

Simon Callow in Juvenalia

★★★
C venues - C nova

Icarus Falling

★★★★★
C venues - C

Mercury Fur

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Best of Burlesque

★★★
theSpace @ Venue45

Dido and Aeneas

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘Why do you think I look like this? Because I’ve been built to do this. That’s why I’ve got a cap and a tail and they make 160 million backup copies of me every day. So I can carry out this task.’ Three short plays about spermatozoa. From the writer of Gabe Day, 'damn good fun' **** (Skinny). 'Devastatingly funny ... a feast of witty one-liners' (EdFringeReview.com).