A smoothly and effectively delivered WW2 Icelandic drama at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
When Britain invaded Iceland in 1940, to prevent Germany securing the strategic stronghold, the UK troops were generally greeted warmly – with some young Icelandic women, as Agnes Þorkelsdóttir Wild’s play remembers, seeing either a romantic escape route to a better life in Britain, or simply a new source of income from servicing the army boys’ needs.
It’s a little-known period, and one that’s ripe for dramatic treatment, but Þorkelsdóttir Wild’s offering with Lost Watch theatre doesn’t really do it justice. Her story of a country girl finding herself falling in love with a decent British officer while her slutty, unrepentant cousin sells her body for quick cash feels too monochrome, not helped by some anachronistically contemporary dialogue and a bizarre and shocking plot twist near the end that seems to come from thin air.
It’s smoothly and effectively delivered, though, even if the pace is a little breakneck, and performances are eager and credible: Rianna Dearden is convincingly wide-eyed in the title role, and Alex Dowding shows off his skills multitasking as a cast of British troops. Live choral music adds a homespun charm, but despite its big heart (and its nice line in knitwear), it still feels a bit like a missed opportunity.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 12), £7–£9 (£6–£8.50).