Fringe review: These Halcyon Days, Assembly Hall

Anita Reeves (Patricia), Stephen Brennan (Sean) in These Halcyon Days
Anita Reeves (Patricia), Stephen Brennan (Sean) in These Halcyon Days
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FAST-paced and seldom at less than full pelt, it’s easy to see the Fringe as a young person’s playground. Which is a shame. Entertainment should never be defined by age.

Proving that, at the Assembly Hall on the Mound every morning, is Deirdre Kinahan’s These Halcyon Days, a two-hander starring Stephen Brennan and Anita Reeves as elederly couple Sean and Patricia.

Sean sits alone lost to his memories of a life in the theatre, when in storms Patricia, a feisty woman with a zest for life and handsome men in wheelchairs. A wary intimacy soon develops between the two as an unforeseen relationship by turns charming and combative, tender and funny, develops.

Brennan, whose face may be familiar to fans of the ITV drama Ballykissangel, last appeared in the Capital in an EIF production of The Wake, at the King’s in 1999.

“The play was set around the traditional drinking session in the wake of a life departed,” he recalls. “Someone must have feared we were method actors because they booked us into an hotel without a bar - I didn’t think such a thing existed in Scotland.

“Although we did make short work of the whisky on display at reception.”

Reeves, too, has great memories of previous Festivals.

“By the time we reached Edinburgh the three of us in the cast - Hilda, Sarah and I - had become like a family so we shared a flat, just off The Meadows.

“On our first night we decided to order Chinese food to be delivered. I rang the number and gave the address but couldn’t be understood by the girl so had to give up. Then Hilda tried also to no avail. Then Sarah tried. No luck. So we had to give up. We sat there laughing but hungry.

“Then I had an idea. I rang back and with a very heavy (and probably awful) Edinburgh accent, placed our order and gave the address - no problem.

“After that whenever we said the address to a taxi driver, or when ordering in we used our heavy accent.”

• These Halcyon Days, Assembly Hall, The Mound, until 25 August, 11am, £12-£13, 0131-226 0000