Seanmhair is a totally immersive piece of performance

CommonSpace theatre critic Tara Fitzpatrick gives her take on a "highly intense" effort from Hywel John

SEANMHAIR, from Welsh writer Hywel John, is a wonderfully acted, highly intense piece of theatre which expertly shifts between characters and timescales.

Jenny, a well-spoken, upper-class Edinburgh girl falls in love with Tommy MacLeish, a cheeky, working-class lad from Leith.

The story is told by older Jenny, looking at an older and mentally frail Tommy and remembering their first meeting.

Seanmhair is not an easy 70 minutes of theatre, as the intensity of the drama continuously builds. 

10-year-old Tommy (played primarily with a brilliantly rough accent by Jo Freer) enchants 10-year-old Jenny (played primarily by Molly Vevers) and, unknown to her posh family, they sneak around Edinburgh together. 

The actors switch between age ranges and time frames quickly and succinctly yet do not leave the audience in any confusion.

Things take a darker turn when Jenny’s Seanmhair (or grandmother), played by Sian Howard, comes to visit and discovers a disturbing fact about the love- struck pair.

The drama is raw with the barefoot actors never leaving the stage throughout. The set is also bare with a thin, triangular-shaped lighting design mapping out the twisting streets of Edinburgh.

It is, however, in the hands of director Kate Wasserberg and her electric three cast members, a totally immersive piece of performance.

Seanmhair is not an easy 70 minutes of theatre, as the intensity of the drama continuously builds. 

It is, however, in the hands of director Kate Wasserberg and her electric three cast members, a totally immersive piece of performance.

Seanmhair showed at the Bedlam Theatre between 4–28 August

Picture courtesy of Aenne Pallasca

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