A touching theatre double-bill that reminds of the power of music at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
In this double-bill of plays by Ishy Din and Luke Barnes, Al and Jack are two young northern men trying to find their way into adulthood. Jack prefers Bonnie Tyler and Meatloaf to football, and needs to make sure his ragdoll – a hand-me-down toy from his absent mum – has room to breathe in his backpack. Al's a Santana-loving college kid, struggling to deal with having a brother in prison and his British-Pakistani family's expectations.
They're both touching stories, wonderfully acted by the two young performers here. At the heart of Beats North is its musical set-up: DJ Mariam Rezaei nestled with her tools by the side of the stage, soundtracking the two boys' stories as they go on. It's a great reminder of how much music affects our lives, and what solace it can bring. But the show's opening scene – in which Al and Jack are thrust back and forth across the stage to the sound of a record scratching – is a little long and a touch self-indulgent. It overplays the show's musical element, when it's the stories that really shine here. But if you're itching to get up and dance during the show, you'll have a chance to at the end when the audience is invited on stage for a tension-releasing boogie – an uplifting finale for two poignant tales.
Summerhall, 560 1581, until 23 Aug (not 21), 7.10pm, £14 (£11).