dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Status review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘searching and meticulously crafted’

Chris Thorpe in Status at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: The Other Richard Chris Thorpe in Status at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: The Other Richard
by -

How does Chris Thorpe make a middle-aged white man with a guitar and a show about being British absolutely the opposite of how crap that sounds?

This is the second in what will be a trilogy about identity, created with director Rachel Chavkin. The first, Confirmation, explored the idea of confirmation bias. This opts for a no less meaty theme: nationality.

A couple of thousand years ago, the phrase “civis Romanus sum” guaranteed safety across the Roman Empire. When Chris finds himself in a situation with a violent policeman in Serbia, the phrase “I’m British” has the same effect.

Thorpe unfolds the meanings of that shibboleth in a travelogue, going to find himself – or lose his Britishness – in the Arizona desert and the Singaporean digital jungle. He also mocks himself for the cringeworthiness of the endeavour, and the privilege that allows him to do it.

Behind him are projected sketches, as seemingly simple and deceptively textured as Thorpe’s writing. There are songs, too, pounded out by Thorpe on an amped-up guitar.

He holds in balance an acceptance of his “civis Romanus sum” privilege, and makes an attempt to redress it by always looking outwards; by being a citizen of the world, while acknowledging his status as a citizen of the UK.

It’s a searching, meticulously crafted, beautifully written piece, full of fragile conclusions about nationhood and privilege.

 

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
A meticulously crafted, beautifully written monologue by Chris Thorpe about nationhood and nationality
^