Theatre Uncut, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

A brand new play by Neil LaBute before breakfast was the main draw of this first session of Theatre Uncut, a global melting pot of plays tackling up-to-the-minute themes of austerity and citizenship.

Performed script in hand in the Traverse bar, LaBute’s In the Beginning is a 10-minute rapid-fire exchange between a cynical father and his idealist son, who wants to run away and join the Occupy camp. But first, he needs to borrow the Merc. And can he have some pocket money for supplies, please?

“What do you stand for?” moans Dad. “Lots of things - the homeless, what the banks have done... There aren’t any jobs!” blusters Son. Both sides have their moments but an unusually warm-hearted (for LaBute) conclusion means that it lacks bite.

Elsewhere, Lena Kitsopoulou takes a searing if surreal look at the crumbling economy of her native Greece with a trip to a supermarket where everything, from cheese to babies, has a price. And most enjoyable of all is Kieran Hurley’s London 2012: Glasgow, written just last week.

A Twenty Twelve-style satire performed with delicious comic timing by Phill Jupitus and Thom Tuck as Olympic branding bozos, it hinges on the mix-up of Korean flags at Hampden Park and subsequent “outsourcing” of blame to Glasgow. The lurid embrace of London 2012 bunting only stretches so far, it seems.

13, 20 August (0131 228 1404)