The Wall

The Wall is a wonderfully refreshing play from Corby Productions. It has two firsts: the play itself is D.C. Jackson’s first full-length work and the performance marks the company’s debut. The five young Scots training at the Guildford School of Acting noted a lack of Scottish representation in Festival Fringe theatre. Independently they funded and put this production together as a contribution that helps redress the balance.

All the promise of making a significant contribution to theatre.

The actual wall is set across the corner of the stage permitting strong diagonal exits and entrances from either end. The audience faces it from two sides and as much of the action takes place with people seated on it the actors are elevated and everyone has a clear view of what is taking place. It’s a very simple move that is very effective. The policeman usher speeds people to their seats as the cast in fluorescent ‘Community Payback’ jackets sweep the floor. It makes for a colourful start that suggests they have all fallen foul of the law. In fact they haven’t and unless I missed something I’m still not clear how this scene relates to the rest of the play, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The wall is soon occupied and the story unfolds with the aid of some delightfully harmonised songs.

Four teenagers are growing up in the sleepy town of Stewarton, stuck in the middle of nowhere with very little to do. As the summer holidays draw to a close the realities of life begin to loom large. Parents, complex boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, drugs and lies all conspire against having a simple, straightforward adolescence and make the prospect of adulthood seem rather daunting.

The action moves along with considerable pace. The uniformly talented cast of Aidan James Harkins, Eilidh Loan, Francesco Piacentini-Smith and Stephanie Lynn Hay create clearly defined characters with plenty of personality. Their confidence is palpable and makes for very comfortable viewing. While the play is not all light-hearted, there are many humorous moments achieved through the script, their delivery and pointed timing. The range of Scottish accents adds to the fascination these students generate in their performances. For those not familiar with local dialects and slang there are some challenging moments, but the jist is never lost and the language is part of the interest the play holds. The plot moves steadily in the first half but becomes rather cluttered later on with perhaps just too many things happening in a short space of time.

There is sustained joy in this production derived from seeing talented young actors give of their all, bubble with passion and convey enthusiasm for their art. They show all the promise of making a significant contribution to theatre in general and of being a force in the further development of Scottish drama in particular. Make a note of their names; they are likely to be around for a long time

Reviews by Richard Beck

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The Blurb

As summer draws to a close, four teenagers stuck in the sleepy town of Stewarton must deal with the pressures of looming adulthood in this very Scottish comedy.