David Leddy’s Sub Rosa
Atmospheric, immersive Victorian promenade horror story
This article is from 2010.
David Leddy’s Sub Rosa was originally created for the dark nooks and crawlspaces of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre. But its new home, the symbol-festooned Masonic Lodge in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town, is such a perfect fit for the Victorian gothic promenade piece, you feel Leddy could have written the show this space in mind. It’s a veritable TARDIS of a building that gradually opens out into bigger, yet more impressive rooms as a series of larger-than-life theatrical ghosts gradually unburden themselves of the horrific tale of chorus girl Flora McIvor.
Sub Rosa is a typically immersive piece of theatre from Leddy, and, while the building itself effortlessly provides its own stair-creaking atmosphere, every effort has been made to transport the audience to another realm, from the pungent lavender balm in strongman Svaty Václav’s dressing room, to the rows of costumes and hair-pieces in wig master Angus MacNeil’s workroom. The tight space brings allows the audience to appreciate the compelling detail and nuances of the performances. If it all feels a little rarefied Leddy’s pure form of theatre is to be welcomed in a climate dominated by variable verbatim pieces gleaned from news cuttings.
Hill Street Theatre, 226 6522, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), every 20 mins from 10.20–11.20pm & midnight–12.40am, £10–£15.