Walls and Bridges

In their new drama, Walls and Bridges, Acting Coach Scotland delves into the themes of home and belonging through a dystopian Scotland in 2035. This damaged society suffers constant deportations, arrests and total alienation from the outside world. Appalled at the situation, a group of actors meet at an empty studio to rehearse a play in protest of their government. The verbatim accounts they include of other people’s experiences under regimes are interspersed between their own personal conversations and debates. Will this hopeful group achieve their goal or is their country simply beyond repair?

I feel we are seeing only half of its potential

Walls and Bridges opens with a slick and impactful video montage to bring us up to speed on the devastating situation faced by the characters. The physical theatre accompanying this is equally mesmerising and, illuminated only by video projection, the use of dim lighting is effective here. However, as the play continues in a similarly dark fashion, it becomes frustrating to miss so much of the actors’ facial expressions and reactions. The effect could still be achieved effectively if more care was taken to ensure the lamps on stage were facing in a reasonable direction to light up the action. Despite this, torch lights shining through the darkness into the faces of those giving verbatim accounts is particularly powerful and adds to the atmosphere of urgent secrecy.

In this sizeable cast, each character holds an obvious personality and role in the group. Through interesting one-on-one conversations, ranging from emotional discussions to intense arguments, we get to know everyone in depth. However, there is a noticeable lack of energy to many of the performances. This group of actors are willing to risk their lives in pursuit of their task, but their immense desperation for change doesn’t quite make it to the auditorium.

There is much to admire in this play. Its directorial decisions are certainly bold and look to take risks, but this doesn’t always pay off. With a little more shine from both its lighting and performances, Walls and Bridges could be a very powerful production. As it stands, I feel we are seeing only half of its potential.

Reviews by Carla van der Sluijs

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

In a Trump-coloured, post-Brexit, wall-building world – is there more to bring us together than keep us apart? Inspired by real stories and featuring verbatim accounts – this devised piece challenges notions of home and belonging. An uplifting tonic for troubling times.