Made in Cumbria
A quintet of well-realised characters in a show that frequently hits the mark
Jane Postlethwaite takes her native Cumbria as an inspiration for her debut show, and by the looks of it there's plenty going on there: space debris, arson and attempted murder among them. In this pleasingly neat plot, five well-rounded (if not terribly adjusted) characters' lives interact whether through a mixture of familial relations or a ménage à trois. There's tour guide and survival expert Karroll Kavannagh, timid falconer Kirsty Bird, the first Cumbrian in space Stella Nova, children's novelist Joy Hope and head of the northern school of mask-making Mary Façade.
Postlethwaite swings about conjuring each character, each one perfectly realised while, inevitably, there's plenty of audience interaction in prospect. We're all involved in some way. Kirsty passes the mantle, or rather gauntlet to an audience member who is left on stage uncertain what to do next and a mother in the crowd helps out by reading a 'children's' story.
This is wonderfully daft, sometimes dark stuff. In one sequence, Stella is taking a live Q&A session from space where she's asked idiotic questions, largely about men and children, which are only ever put to women with successful careers. It rings only too true.
Sweet Grassmarket, until 28 Aug (not 24), 1.10pm, £8.50 (£7).