‘7 Billion Others and Me’ (Lyceum Youth Theatre: 28 March & 4 April’14)

7 Billion Others and Me

“It is Andy Murray’s Will He – Won’t He? victory at the All England Club last year that ends the roll-call “

Editorial Rating: Unrated

Directed by Christie O’Carroll and devised by the Company.

It is a fun, effective, image. The kilt, Royal Stewart tartan no less, the plain sock, the half-tied All Star Converse resting on a slightly squashed globe. Some photoshopping might just have had the heel depressing England but, no, that would not have been right.

7 Billion Others and Me had two performances, both prior to evening performances of Union. That too made sense, as did the three Perspex voting boxes at the Exit doors: ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Don’t Knows’. When I saw them the piles of votes were evenly distributed. This LYT show might influence your views on the independence referendum but that is not its intention. This engaging piece of youth theatre is much more to do with proposing community and friendship as the proper platform for whatever we stand for – or on.

The islands of St Kilda are used to tell a shared story. To begin with there is island history: a nasty but comic severed hand, puffin catching, puffed-up ‘Morning Manly Meetings’, and mention of May 1918 when a German submarine blew apart the island’s signal station. In August 1930 the remaining thirty-six inhabitants leave for the mainland at their own request. There follow scenes of modern and popular Scottish history – highly selective but of near legendary proportions, if you are 15 – the amalgamation of proud regiments; The Bay City Rollers; Lockerbie; Dunblane (sensitively not named); wicked Mrs Thatcher and her poll tax; and almost to top them all, CBBC’s Raven, 2002 – 10; but it is Andy Murray’s Will He – Won’t He? victory at the All England Club last year that ends the roll-call and brings us to the ‘Yes’ / ‘No’ seesaw of the referendum debate.

7 Billion Raven

The confident young cast (? S3-S4) embodied a sense of their history being made. The repacking of the belongings of the Lockerbie victims is especially sad and evocative. Courtney and Keir carry their romancing and their love through from the earliest times to the present day. Ironic and familiar ‘sides’ of latte, jaffa cakes and sushi accompany the main narrative that employs voice, song and movement to keep it fresh and memorable.

Raven (and improbably, magnificiently, Mrs T) appear in fine costume but otherwise all is kept plain and unaffected. The message is plainly voiced that even if you are one in seven billion you still count and that, again on the plus side, there are lots of people around to join hands with.

“Are you ready? Then let the challenge… begin.”

 

Reviewer: Alan Brown (Seen 4 April)

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