George Ross reviews
Pride Plays: 1
The Pride Plays is Scotland's first ever LGBTQI+ playwright festival. Returning to Edinburgh for a second year as part of LGBT History Month Scotland, they platform an underrepresented community within Scottish theatre.
The Traverse's showcase started with We’ll Meet in Moscow, written by Natalie McGrath and directed by Connel Burnett. We only see one character on stage - Dasha (Rebecca Elise) - for the full performance and it was something completely unexpected. Through her life in Russia, we see her finding love. The words were brought to life through the sheer power of love and a sense of anger. That anger is something which those in the queer community have to put up with, and it is something which was not overused or abused. The words were calling out to be spoken. A love which is most beautiful but dangerous for Dasha as being gay in Russia is still illegal. It is something which is political yet so natural. In the Q&A session after the show was over, McGrath said that she wanted to partly write this story to show that it is okay to be gay. And wanted to write a love story that was real. It is something to keep an eye out for as it is something everyone should see. A moving, heart-breaking story which not only allows people to see what it is like to be gay in other countries, but the words and performance leave you feeling fulfilled yet wanting more.
The second performance was Cocoon. Written by Katie Gartian-Close and directed by Jo Rush, it follows a lesbian couple - Randy (Neshla Caplan) and Sophie (Nalini Chetty) - on a train journey from Vancouver to Seattle. With brilliant comedic moments and heartfelt scenes in equal measure it gives you an insight into what it is like to be a queer couple trying to make a family. Throughout the play we hear from a train announcer (Saskia Ashdown) who not only brings laughs and enjoyment from the more difficult scenes, but is used to bring the characters back to reality. It was a poignant piece which not only gave you the chance to imagine what it is like to try and have a baby, and all the emotions which come with it. It’s an all-round great performance with the actors bouncing off of once another and the writing cleverly done that you have to pay attention in order to get the full impact of the piece. If you hear about the play Cocoon, I urge you to go and see it. Not only will you hopefully find it enjoyable and witty, it gives you information about what the reality is for so many queer couples out their attempting to have a baby.
Pride Plays: 1 performed at the Traverse Theatre on 14 February 2020, as part of the Pride Plays Festival.