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THERE were a few double-takes amongst members of the audience as they filed in to Eden Court’s One Touch Theatre for this second part of a trilogy of plays by Nutshell.
There was none of the usual raked seating looking on to the stage, but stools ranged around two long tables. So instead of entering as detached spectators, they instantly became an integral part of the stage set, soon finding themselves in touching distance of the three storytellers.
They were Gowan Calder (playing Izzy), Nicola Jo Cully (Joan) and Stephen Docherty (William).
The reason for the long tables became apparent within minutes as we found ourselves taking part in the Burntisland beetle drive – as the atmosphere of a 1950s Scottish seaside community was recreated in front of our eyes.
William, Joan and Izzy, friends since primary school, have grown up cheek by jowl, their lives as intimately intertwined as the thread which binds together their home-made party clothes.
As they grow, each considers what it they want from life. Do they settle for what they’ve got – secure but sometimes stifling – or take a chance amidst the uncertainties and excitement of the big, wide world?
As William and Joan become closer, strains begin to emerge in the relationships between all three, complicated further as Joan is hit by a double personal blow.
The question at the heart of Jules Horne’s story is this: Who becomes the person they want to be?
At times deeply poignant and on occasion laugh-out-loud, the action is supplemented by snippets of period music and frocks from that era.
Calder, feistiest of the three and not one for simply playing it safe, conjures an intensity in her performance which contrasts nicely with Docherty’s well-meaning bluster and Cully’s increasing vulnerability.
The audience, so close to the action, has no choice but to remain intimately involved for the hour-long duration of this absorbing production.