Scorch (4 stars)

This article is from 2016


credit: Ciaran Bagnall

Sympathetic monologue based on a true life injustice

Unlike many 'true-life' monologues, Scorch relies less on the details of the story than the imaginative construction of the life behind the headlines. Based on the trial of a young person for sexual fraud, it is an unsensational examination of gender confusion, and the dangers of assuming intention, or even awareness, in a person's presentation of themselves as male or female.

Stacey Gregg's script follows the maturing of a young woman who finds that gender identity is not as simple as following the heart. Her lively meditations on her 'tomboy' nature gradually give way to the thrill as passing as a 'good boyfriend'. While she lacks the language to identify as transgendered, she easily comes to terms with passing, until an ex-girlfriend (possibly encouraged by a shocked mother) takes the matter to court.

Gregg's protagonist is cheery and passionate – the period of imprisonment is less tragic against the positivity of the rest of the script – and the sensitivity of the writing is balanced by a dynamic portrayal of a young person's coming-of-age and gender. It avoids preaching, offering a story that finds joy and humour in the mundane.

Amy McAllister turns in a superb performance in a modest, yet moving, depiction of a life caught up in a society and legal system that is struggling to understand the meaning of transgender identity.

Roundabout @ Summerhall, run ended.


  • 4 stars

Award-winning production examining how the human story often gets lost amidst the headlines.