The Bridge

This intimate solo show is written, produced and performed by acclaimed Edinburgh-based writer, director, performer and filmmaker Annie George. In some senses all of this shows.

Annie George’s performance is too measured, her steps carefully and deliberately taken, to the point of distraction.

This piece tells the history of a nation through the story of one family. It spans three generations, from pre-Independence Kerala, India, to present day Scotland.

The opening is entrancing. I could have sat for the whole hour and watched the near-hypnotic animated scribing of a family tree, accompanied by the meditative musical score of Niroshini Thambar. Moments of calm like this are jewels in this festival-crazed city. The writing is poetic at times and the personal and political marry well.

However, the whole is not the sum of its parts. ‘What is missing in modern life,’ say the programme notes, ‘is the feeling of knowing our place and a sense of belonging.’ Sadly I found myself lost. The characters aren’t sufficiently defined for us always to know which generation we are with and the writing doesn’t assist enough. We need more than the use of two single pieces of (albeit beautiful) cloth to indicate a fe/male voice: we need to know whose voice, and which generation we are listening to.

Annie George’s performance is too measured, her steps carefully and deliberately taken, to the point of distraction. She has great presence, but we are too aware of her as performer. The piece has all the structural elements in place: what it needs now is a bit of re-engineering.

Reviews by Sue Bevan

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The Blurb

A new play, blending text, sound and visual design, framed by a remarkable story, traced back through a family’s memories, from present day to a young writer and scholar in pre-Independence Kerala, India. Defying convention and poverty to realise his dreams, the fortunes of the generations that followed are shaped. The Bridge considers how our histories are told and who tells them, and the silences in between which gives rise to myth or invention. It reflects on identity and a sense of belonging, the struggle for meaning and power of the pen. Part of Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.