Precious Little Talent
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 14th Aug 2009
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Ella Hickson was the darling of the Fringe last year with her debut play, Eight. It picked up a Fringe First and the Carol Tambor Award and almost universally praised by critics. So, with high expectations, is this the ‘difficult second album’? If it is, someone forgot to mention it to Ella Hickson, as Precious Little Talent is just sensational.Set in New York during Christmas in 2008, George (John McColl) is a cantankerous old ex-Pat who has 19-year old American boy Sam (Simon Ginty) as a home-help. His daughter, Joey (Emma Hiddleston) has arrived from England and a love affair quickly ensues between her and Sam. George has health problems that Joey is not aware of, but is the reason why Sam is so loyal to the gruff old timer, and this interconnected threesome provides Hickson a framework to tell this beautiful story.Every aspect of this production sparkles. The performances are stunningly truthful and the writing is sensationally captivating. Simon Ginty’s opening scene is so extraordinarily good that you know you’re in for something wonderful. It’s beautifully lit, with exceptionally clever touches such as a subway scene with the lights of the trains whizzing past transporting you there. Even the set is a marvel, revolving around to create the rooftops of the apartment buildings, or the domestic setting below. Yes, you read right – they have a revolve. In Edinburgh. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching something on the International Festival, not the Fringe.If you go – and you should – look out John McColl’s shaving scene. Without a word uttered, the audience sat without a cough or a shuffle as he captivated us all staring through an imagined mirror directly at us. Simply amazing theatre.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

Assembly George Square Studios

The House

★★★★★
theSpace on the Mile

Grace Notes

★★★
Greenwich Theatre

The Jungle Book

★★★
Greenwich Theatre

A Midsummer Night's Dream

★★★★
Multiple Venues

A Spoonful Of Sherman

★★★★★
Pleasance Theatre

Assassins

★★★★

The Blurb

The intelligent new drama from Ella Hickson (Fringe First and Best of Edinburgh winner - 'Eight', 2008). Tears, love and laughter in a richly comic tale of a generation fighting not to be forgotten.