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Gut review at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘accurately pinpoints parental fears’

Kirsty Stuart and Peter Collins in Gut at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
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The fear felt by a parent when their child disappears from sight is universal. But sometimes that fear can grow out of control.

Frances Poet explores these fears with innard-wrenching effect in Gut. Maddy (Kirsty Stuart) and Rory (Peter Collins) discover that his mother (Lorraine McIntosh) had momentarily left their three year-old son with a helpful stranger while babysitting.

Their natural over-reaction quickly spirals out of control. Stuart and Collins create a natural intimacy, one where parental responsibility has overthrown their love for each other. The really chilling thing in Poet’s play is not fear of losing a child but the way in which that fear can lead to the point where the act of trying to protect your child becomes more dangerous that the thing you fear.

A series of strangers played by the consistently sinister George Anton generates that fear. He tramples Duplo underfoot and appears as a shadowy shape in the background of Fred Meller’s austere set.

Zinnie Harris’ production is completely chilling when dealing with Maddy’s uncontrollable reactions. Yet there is too much in Poet’s play that a parent would quibble with, nor does Harris succeed in finessing Poet’s rather obvious final twist. It feels like it belongs in different play entirely.

Adam review at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘a moving trans story’

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Though Frances Poet's play accurately pinpoints parental fears, it fails to thrill