SALAMANDER comes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from Pretty Knickers Productions, a gripping theatre production by Mhairi McCall and Cal Ferguson.
The all-female cast puts on an incredible show centred on the true story of an unsolved murder of a prostitute in Leith in 1983.
This proves especially relevant given Edinburgh Council’s recent move to ban strip clubs in the city.
The show deals with the taboos and misconceptions around sex work and humanises the women in such professions.
If nothing else, its an amazing theatre piece, packed with unrivalled humour and music. The lighting, stage direction, even the accents – everything feels flawless and authentic.
All of it makes for an emotionally intense play that should be sad but somehow still manages to leave you with a smile on your face.
It’s hard to pick out one actress, scene or event that is particularly poignant or attention-grabbing as the whole play is executed with precision and finesse.
Directors and writers spoke to people present and involved about the unsolved case and their research, giving the play a believable, true-to-life feel.
After learning of the murder, the main characters deal with the aftermath, having regular meetings in a church with a police “prostitute liaison” and an all-too-religious member of the local woman’s guild.
Dealing with the fear they all feel being prostitutes and working through their grief, the group decide to enter a poetry competition with poems written in remembrance of their friend.
Even the poems are written well, really driving home the grief the group feel and garnering sympathy from even the most stoic audience members.
A powerful message of self-worth and acceptance runs right through the play’s runtime
A sad twist (no spoilers) is introduced towards the end but despite this, the play maintains its good humour.
A perfectly written play maintaining a harsh and somewhat hard demeanour, without being depressing? It’s no small feat.
I highly recommend you find the time to go and see Salamander this Fringe Festival while you still can.
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