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Underground Railroad Game and Island Town winners in second round of The Stage Edinburgh Awards

The Stage Edinburgh award-winner Katherine Pearce. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic The Stage Edinburgh award-winner Katherine Pearce. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
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Performers in Underground Railroad Game and Island Town are the latest to be recognised as part of The Stage Edinburgh Awards.

Scott Sheppard and Jennifer Kidwell won the award for their performance in Underground Railroad Game, which is an Ars Nova production with Soho Theatre running at the Traverse.

The Stage’s joint lead critic Tim Bano said: “The way they constantly react to audience members, like we’re students in their middle school class, gives their performances a thrilling unpredictability and liveness that is often missing from even the best theatre.

Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard, winners of The Stage Edinburgh award for Underground Railroad Game. Photo: Alex Brenner
Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard, winners of The Stage Edinburgh award for Underground Railroad Game. Photo: Alex Brenner

“Their performances are so carefully crafted, so expert, that they can have the audience screaming with laughter in one instant and squirming with discomfort the next.”

Katherine Pearce was recognised for her performance in Simon Longman’s Island Town, a Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd production, which is running at the Roundabout at Summerhall.

She was described by The Stage’s reviews editor Natasha Tripney as “the emotional heart of the play, a character frustrated by the narrowness of her life”.

“She radiates anger and a sense of yearning for something more. It’s a raw but controlled performance, physically precise, made all the richer when compared to her excellent work in the rest of the Paines Plough season,” Tripney said.

On receiving her award, Pearce said: ““It’s a real privilege to be acknowledged by The Stage – my performance wouldn’t have been in any way possible without the stellar work of my co-conspirators both on stage and behind the scenes…they all know who they are, and they’re all awesome.”

The Stage Edinburgh Awards recognise outstanding performances at the Edinburgh Fringe. They are awarded throughout August and are not defined by category. Winners can be solo performers or an ensemble.

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