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Edinburgh Fringe: Riot Squat – Whitespace

Writer: Alan Gordon

Director: Becky Hope – Palmer

Reviewer: Charles Tyrer


The ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster was originally printed in WWII. It doesn’t take a genius to explain why it’s now being mass produced… Of course they want us to keep calm, looking at events globally; people power has proven to be as strong as ever. Closer to home, we have experienced the London riots; when graduating goes hand in hand with signing on, isn’t it inevitable that this generation is going to erupt onto the streets?

In Riot Squat, the riots have descended upon Edinburgh. The city is falling apart. Miles (Alex Hope) and Kristy (Gemma Stroyan) are archetypal middle class graduates. Brought up in the shadows of their parents, they believe the world owes them a living. Now living in a squat, they refuse to accept their fallen state. As the nation fight for liberty this blinkered couple sit beneath their ‘Keep Calm’ poster worrying about climbing the social ladder. When Glaswegian street warrior Billy (Ross Donnachie) arrives to reveal Miles is the heralded ‘Dummy Runner’, the catalyst of the riots. The couple at first horrified, soon manipulate measures to ensure that Miles’s identity remains hidden. The piece becomes harrowing as they find ways of using Billy to their advantage; after all, Kristy can’t go around with a crisp as an engagement ring forever…

Perhaps the issue here could have been politicised more; it could have gone to the core of society’s problems. Then again this could have taken away from what Alan Gordon’s writing is so successful in showing; real characters whose lives we fully invest in. Riot Squat transports one into an all too real predicament. Is it focusing on the past, or predicting the future? Gordon is unwilling to say; yet when there’s not much else for graduates to do, we can make our own predictions.

Runs until 26th of August

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