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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me @markffisher and @writeabouttheat I am an Edinburgh-based freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian, Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success, published in February 2012 and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers published in July 2015. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide. See my website for more information and comprehensive Scottish theatre links.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Allotment, theatre review

Published by The Scotsman

ALLOTMENT ****

GOVAN CROSS SHOPPING CENTRE, GLASGOW
THEY tell us we live in a hyper-connected world where anyone who is not already your Facebook friend is only a Chatroulette encounter away.

We're still figuring out what all this means, but the extra connectivity seems to have gone hand in hand with greater atomisation. This is the irony played with in Allotment, the final instalment of the National Theatre of Scotland's series of exuberant art events in an empty shop in Govan.

Such is the interactive nature of the evening – a cross between an experimental scratch night and a popular fun fair – you end up bonding with complete strangers, not least through Six Degrees of Separation, Christine O'Carroll's high-speed attempt to find the missing link between half-a-dozen unrelated people.

Elsewhere, those same people could be sending digital messages to a giant computer screen while standing right next to you. Or they could be hoping to find the perfect partner by playing the Love Calculator, fully aware that the machinery is entirely human.

Later, after Rob Drummond has given a display of magic tricks in a nearby retro shop, the manager hands us all a teabag and reminds us that people used to get to know each other over a hot drink.

Many of the sideshows parody the idea of quick-fix relationships – notably the hilarious self-help nonsense of the Fluid Networks seminar – but together they create the effect of a surreal ceilidh in which people meet, laugh and connect, the old-fashioned way.
© Mark Fisher 2010

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