A Glance at New York

This article is from 2007.

Urban living in the 19th century

Melodrama is usually evoked as a novelty these days, a kind of exercise in high camp. But there’s more to it than this, according to Randall Sharp, director of Axis Theatre’s A Glance at New York. Benjamin Walker’s mid-19th century play evokes some mighty emotions, she tells me, in its portrayal of Mose, a character apparently based on a real-life fireman from the Gangs of New York era who chums up with a country hick requiring protection from the wiles of the city, and takes him on an adventurous tour of old Manhattan.

‘There’s a timeless quality to the story – it’s set in its time, but there are recognisable characters, like the naïve guy who gets ripped off, and the big strong guy who helps him,’ Sharp explains. ‘It could be a New York story today: you come to town and you might get beaten up, people might be rude to you, you get conned of your money, and so on.’ Complete with songs and music, as melodrama should be, this piece seeks to remind us of the perils and beauties of any city, not just the big apple.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, 5–26 Aug, 2pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £5.

A Glance At New York

  • 4 stars

Brilliant piece of theatre marrying 19th century vaudeville to present day performance techniques, from off-off-Broadway company Axis Theatre. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2007'.

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