- Rowena McIntosh
- 22 August 2017
Tense character drama exposing the pressures of modern policing
Stand By makes its police presence felt before the play has even begun. As soon as the audience put on their single-earpiece headphones they are fed a stream of radio messages, and the uniformed cast stop anyone trespassing across the stage. Set in one location, Stand By is the story of four police officers sat waiting in a riot van outside a potentially violent dispute.
Initially the script seems over-eager to establish the officers' credentials as tough people doing a tough job, with a tendency to use expletives where they don't sound natural. However, once it settles, it proves to be a keen character study, in turns comic, poignant and subtle as the foursome banter and argue to pass the time. It's well cast and maintains a strong ensemble feel as they highlight the changes in modern Scottish policing. It's confidently Dundonian, and those familiar with the City of Discovery will be in agreement about the superiority of Fisher and Donaldson cakes.
The tension rises as the day's policing goes on and our earpieces allow us to experience their feeling of impotence stuck in the van and unable to help their unit. Written by and starring former police officer turned actor Adam McNamara, Stand By has an authenticity that seriously packs a punch when it comes to demonstrating the cause and effects of an officer's actions on their colleagues and the community.
Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall, until 26 Aug, 6.45pm, £14 (£12).