Review: Writer's Cramp

WE enter into a pact, audiences and performers. Particularly amateur performers and an audience. * * *St Ninian's Hall, Comely Bank

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 2:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 2:37 pm
Writer's Cramp

Working in an intimate space, with almost no budget and, occasionally, rudimentary skills, we share a generosity of spirit.

We allow each other more leeway than formal theatre. In return we experience more personal engagement, experimentation and embrace the unexpected with good humour.

Before Monday night’s show began, ETA Chairman John McLinden apologised personally for the cancellation of that evening’s performance of Primrose Way - the second half of a double-bill - due to illness.

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Five minutes before, a customer at the ticket counter, upon the suggestion they return for the full bill another night instead, sighed exasperatedly, “If I need to come back another night, I won’t come at all.”

It would be a pity if she had decided to leave as, at just under 90 minutes, Writer’s Cramp is more than enough entertainment for one evening and equal in run time to a film or touring stage production.

Writer’s Cramp is a compelling piece of work that will make all aspiring creatives cringe a little inside.

An Adrian Mole for the literati, John Byrne’s knowing script alternately mocks and strips away the pretensions we have about our work and the capricious taste of an audience.

David McCallum’s tragic antihero FS McDade, is played with a fittingly callous narcissism, while those around him capture the energy and pace of the script immaculately.

Danny Farrimond delves magnificently into the unsettling side of his trio of characters, particularly Mrs Ripper, while David Gibson and John McLinden deliver their aged parts with relish.

Iain Kerr’s direction is well paced and light, although there is still room to draw back the drama and pause to reflect during some of the more poignant moments.

Run ends Saturday