Propeller review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘heartfelt show about local activism’
Get “Lockie” back on track! Welcome to the fictional Lockhaven Port, based on a typical corner of small-town Scotland largely forgotten by the powers that be in Edinburgh and Westminster. The teenage characters who live here have one dream: to leave.
But literally leaving – either for university, a weekend trip or a daily commute – is easier said than done. Like many back-and-beyond places, Lockie (as its nicknamed) used to have a local train service to Edinburgh. Now, it just has a “shitty bus”.
In the Network Ensemble’s Propeller, a group of local young people decide to launch a campaign to get the train service returned to their town. Or rather, in keeping with the bureaucratic rules of government, their first step is to get a ‘feasibility report’ conducted.
Caitlin Skinner’s production splices the train-saving story with snapshots of historic, people-powered protests, including the miners’ strike and the anti-Iraq War protests.
There are also passages of interpretive group dance, poetry and music (George Michael’s Faith turned into a transport protest song is a highlight). But despite the enthusiasm of the cast and some dry humour, the piece as a whole lacks cohesion and always seems in danger of becoming derailed.