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Mancub review at North Edinburgh Arts Centre

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Vanishing Point’s production of Douglas Maxwell’s splendid adaptation of the Flight of the Cassowary by John Levert has been re-imagined for the National Theatre of Scotland Ensemble as a performance in the round. Without a set as such, just darkly atmospheric lighting from designer Kai Fischer, it focusses more than ever on Paul J Corrigan, who reprises his role as first person narrator.

Corrigan puts in a well judged and engaging performance as the troubled teenager, Paul. His overactive imagination combines with a misunderstanding of evolutionary biology and Kipling’s Jungle Book, to lead him to believe that it is not only possible to take on the characteristics of animals but to actually turn into them. Which would not be so bad if it didn’t happen during moments of great stress.

Matthew Lenton’s direction demands a clear sense of distinction from the supporting actors, Donald Pirie and Cath Whitefield, as they create the characters around Paul. Pirie is very strong as both Paul’s misunderstanding father and his best friend, the troubled Jerry – although his performance could benefit from greater differentiation between them.

Cath Whitefield has no such problems in her various roles, most notably as Ken, the dog next door, who barks at the moon and has a problem with chewing furniture and Karen, the girl in Paul’s class who he fancies. She puts in an exceedingly well realised and physical performance as Ken and judges Karen to perfection, creating just the right level of intimidation while succeeding in conveying her own nervousness.

Production Information

North Edinburgh Arts Centre, September 7, then touring until October 25

Douglas Maxwell, adapted from John Levert’s novel The Flight of the Cassowary
Matthew Lenton
Vanishing Point for the National Theatre of Scotland Ensemble
Paul J Corrigan, Donald Pirie, Cath Whitefield
Running time
1hr 25mins

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