REVIEW – Songs from the Heart & Elsewhere, Tightlaced Theatre

Local poet Beverley Wright’s first book was recently published in style, with its launch accompanied by a performance installation from Tightlaced Theatre, an Edinburgh based company with a focus on new writing. A full house packed into the St. Augustine’s Church Centre to experience Songs from the Heart and Elsewhere and to snap up copies of the book.

Ms. Wright’s debut work, published by Parlando, shows a distinctly feminine voice and wry humour. While conventional in style, the poems offer great variety, which both engaged and entertained the live audience. The selection performed included a few poems using the Scots language, a medium in which Wright shows herself to be equally effective. Many of the poems bring out the humour in everyday situations, with the woes of an overly full handbag striking a chord with many female audience members. However, Wright does not shy away from more serious issues with particular highlights of the evening including Annie’s Bunnet and The Coat, skillfully performed by Debbie Cannon and Jamie Griffin respectively, both touching tales of the power attached to seemingly ordinary objects and the memories they can evoke.

For this event, twenty-five poems from the book were arranged into a cohesive whole and brought to life under the direction of Flavia D’Avila. Performances took place around the space, with the audience’s attention drawn in turn to each cast member with the use of a silent figure to direct attention where required and to chivvy along members of the audience who were getting too comfortable. Accompanying music from Iain Orr and Andrew Henry added an effective extra dimension. The variety of material in Wright’s book provided excellent opportunity to showcase the range of acting talent amongst the cast who rose admirably to the challenge.

While readings are common at book launches, bringing these texts to life in performance helped realise their full potential of warmth, wit and the occasional cheesy rhyme, admirably fulfilling Tightlaced’s mission of developing new work. Overall, the mix of the literary and the theatrical provided both an enjoyable evening’s entertainment and an excellent method of promoting up and coming writers.

Guest review by Amy Hanson

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