REVIEW – Theatre Tasters, Fronteiras Theatre Lab – Free Festival

*****

Presented as a ‘three course meal’ of short new writing pieces, Theatre Tasters is an appetising and hearty debut from new Edinburgh-based company Fronteiras Theatre Lab.

Bringing together writers, performers and crew from seven countries, Fronteiras focus on cross-cultural collaboration, thus ensuring their theatrical spread has subtle seasoning from across the globe. The three darkly comic pieces on offer are all separate and distinct in their own identity, but a common taste soon emerges: that of imprisonment.

Whether it is the literal jail-at-night atmosphere evoked by ex-lag Steve (Mark Young) in Angus Algie’s The Misguided Tour; or care-workers Cynthia (Torya Winters) and Rox (Jasmin Egner) contemplating old age and the harsh realities of the human condition in Heather Irvine’s Lovely Burden: each of the characters are prisoners, forced into the incarceration of their own circumstances.

Even in Oda Fiskum’s deliciously sharp ‘dessert’ Team Player, where the three coffee shop employees (Kristofor Bate, Sarah Cagossi and Egner) are chained to the corporate shackles by Chris Allan’s satanic boss, the satire is the topping hiding another examination of the denial of freedom at its heart.

Writing sparkles throughout, and cast are uniformly strong: a sense of community and collaboration is obvious as they quick-change between courses and shift around props before serving the next slice of compelling theatre. Coping excellently with the confines of the tiny venue, Fronteiras have certainly created an impressive international feast.

One can only hope that director Flavia D’Avila and her fledgling company are given the chance to develop their menu further, as the quick-fire buffet of Theatre Tasters shows all the signs of them being capable of presenting a banquet.

Theatre Tasters is at The Phoenix Cellar Bar at 1200 until 12 August. Free, with donation.

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