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Songlines review at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – ‘sensitive and soulful gig theatre’

Fanta Barrie, Joe Hurst in Songlines. Photo: Helen Maybanks Fanta Barrie, Joe Hurst in Songlines. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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Ah, be still my beating heart. Tallulah Brown’s Songlines, co-produced by DugOut Theatre and HighTide, is the kind of quirky teenage love story that makes you remember that you used to have feelings once as well.

Like Brown’s last play Sea Fret, Songlines is set on the Suffolk coast – a world of windswept beaches, expansive farms, pine forests and Viking ghosts. It follows Stan, an awkward local lad, and Stevie, a city girl out of her depth in the countryside. They meet, they make friends, they kiss, they have sex – two outsiders, finding solace in each other.

And finding solace in music, too. George Chilcott’s production is scored throughout by Brown herself on keys and by Seraphina D’Arby on guitar – two members of the band Trills. The duo underline the part narrative, part duologue action with a series of haunting, plaintive tunes. It’s sensitively done, teasing open the cracks in your heart.

Does it have more to offer than a coming-of-age love story? Not much more, to be honest, but sometimes a tender tale of young romance set to beautiful songs is enough. Easily enough.

Gig theatre is making a lot of noise in Edinburgh this year. It’s well worth catching this quieter contribution.

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A sensitive and soulful gig-theatre love story set on the Suffolk coast