The Tailor of Inverness (4 stars)

This article is from 2008

The Tailor of Inverness

Stitching up the 20th century

Matthew Zajac's father used to tell a story about how to catch a fox. The method is to get the creature in the open then circle it. As long as you complete the circle, the fox will stay grounded. Then you spiral inwards and take your prey.

Zajac does something similar to his father. In The Tailor of Inverness, the writer and actor slowly closes in on the Polish-born Zajac senior, giving him enough space to tell his life story, but not so much room that the old man escapes, fox-like, with his evasions. The one-man show for Dogstar is at once a son's affectionate tribute and an analysis of how history shapes us into the people we are.

Zajac's father was born in a part of Poland that became the Ukraine, was drafted into the armies of both Communist Russia and Nazi Germany and fled across Europe before settling in Glasgow and Inverness. Under the direction of Ben Harrison, Zajac proves a compelling storyteller, capturing the fractured English and have-a-go enthusiasm of his father before weaving himself into an increasingly layered narrative.

As the truth becomes less and less certain, so the fracturing impact of the war grows more tangible, lending this touching personal story the grand metaphorical weight of 20th century history.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 25 (not 11, 18), 2.55pm, £12–£13 (£10–£11).

The Tailor of Inverness

In this previous Fringe First award winner, writer Matthew Zajac spins an affectionate tribute to his Eastern European father while exploring how history moulds us.

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