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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me on Twitter at MarkFFisher, WriteAboutTheat and LimelightXTC I am a freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers. I am also editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls: A Limelight Anthology. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Fleeto

© Mark Fisher - published in The Guardian

Fleeto

Tron, Glasgow
4 out of 5

There are three good reasons why Fleeto should not work. One, it is written in blank verse and inspired by the Iliad, surely a recipe for deadly modern theatre. Two, it is on the topic of knife crime, a subject of interest chiefly to tabloid editors. And three, after its initial success as part of last year's A Play, a Pie and a Pint season, it has been revived for a UK tour with the backing of the Scottish Prison Service's violence reduction week, which gives the impression of an instructional piece of agitprop.

It is a tremendous accomplishment that Paddy Cunneen's 80-minute drama overrides all such reservations, offering a gripping portrait of inner-city violence that lends a mythic resonance to what could have been a simplistic knives-are-bad message.

Drawing on Homer's story of the bereaved King Priam confronting his enemy Achilles, Cunneen vividly portraits the intensity of a senseless gang attack, the horror of a motiveless murder and the wider social causes and effects of knife crime. He does this in a way that strips away the banalities of naturalistic speech, using instead the heightened monologues of the Greeks to explore the human emotions generated by grand social forces.

Performing on a bare stage with only the raw power of Cunneen's language for ammunition, the four actors never lose the attention of a young audience. Jordan McCurrach is especially mesmerising as the assassin with a guilty conscience, tough talking but as helpless as a tragic hero.

© Mark Fisher, 2008

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