Edinburgh 2013: I’m With The Band - A compelling allegory on the issue of Scots independence
Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.
Tuesday 06 August 2013
A rock band, whose No 1 hit glory days are long gone, is on the point of breaking up. Its four members are an Englishman, Scotsman, Welshman and Northern Irishman. The band, pointedly called The Union, is in financial crisis because it transpires the manger hasn’t paid any VAT for 12 years. The Scots guitarist has decided he is going solo.
Astonishingly, of the 2,871 shows on the Edinburgh festival Fringe this year only three or four focus on the issue of Scots independence, to which most Scots seem startlingly indifferent. Dangerously so, according to Tim Price the author of I’m With The Band another piece of new writing commissioned by Orla O’Loughlin, the artistic director of The Traverse, which is celebrating its 50th year as the epicentre of new writing for the Scottish theatre.
Price, whose previous Salt, Root and Roe at the Donmar was nominated for an Olivier award, is a Welshman. His central thesis is that the debate should not be myopically focussed on whether Scotland would be better off alone. With centuries of shared history, emotion, psychology and kinship there will be unexamined impacts on Wales, Ulster and England too.
The play is an allegory but a powerful and clever one which never becomes hammy, even if the band’s first track is called "We’re All In This Together".
A well-balanced cast are scabrously funny; James Hillier and Andy Clark create a good chemistry as the super-competent play-it-all Englishman and chippy creative Scot, but Matthew Bulgo and Declan Rodgers seize their moments as the cowed Welshman and the belligerent inarticulate Ulsterman. Gordon McIntyre’s music is effective while director Hamish Pirie ensures that the music serves the drama and not vice versa and adds some inventive touches to a provocative script. A play for all nations, on these isles at least.
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East