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The Long Road to Mrs MacIntyre’s

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Mrs MacIntyre’s Coffee Shop is a fairly unassuming cafe just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, sharing its entrance with a hostel above. The venue initially has little relevance to The Long Road to Mrs MacIntyre’s, save that it allows our host to serve tea and biscuits with her show. Sitting in this cosy venue, Ruth offers refreshments with an 1980s soundtrack and explains her passion for cassette recording.

Given a portable recorder as a child, Ruth has documented the voices that have grown up around her. By playing these tapes to her audience, she builds a picture of the laughter and loss encountered through the years, until the light-hearted odyssey is clouded with broken hearts and the detritus of real life. When the noisiest mime in Edinburgh gatecrashes the venue it is initially awkward, but he has an ulterior motive and the possibility of a healthy resolution in sight.

Actor Ruth Worth has devised this piece so cunningly, it is easy to be taken in. Worth’s sincerity is accepted without question and its only when Ruth’s personal life creeps into the narrative, that the reality of immersive theatre comes clear. An entertaining piece of nostalgia anyway, the unfolding of a love story just leaves you wanting more.

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Verdict
Beguiling piece of immersive theatre cunningly disguised as a one-woman show
Paul Vale
Paul has been writing for The Stage since 1998 as a critic and feature writer. He is also part of The Stage's Edinburgh Fringe review team.
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