Assembly Halls Edinburgh August 26th 2017
Conceived as a companion piece to Atlantic A Scottish Story this new exciting production relates the tale of two sisters on the eve of America entering WW1 attempting to unravel their complicated European & African family history. Jane played with passion by Mariah Copeland heads to Europe hoping to reach Scotland after volunteering as a nurse. In the course of her ocean journey she meets Jesse (Neal Davidson) a young lad from Memphis seeking adventure. Arriving amongst the horrors of war Jane eventually is reported missing and Jesse is returned home injured and a much changed and troubled soul. Convinced that Jane is still alive younger sister Annabelle, played with understanding and skill way beyond her youth by the terrific Abigail Stephenson, sets out on her trail. Teaming up with a very hesitant Jesse who does not want to be dragged back to the war zone again they hear from the correspondent who first told Jane’s story for propaganda purposes that he was uncertain what had actually happened during the attack where Jane was last seen. With most of the story being related in song the score is particularly strong and very much in the Folk idiom with the ensemble painting the story vividly and with joyous enthusiasm. Once back in a Europe torn apart Annabelle and Jesse travel to the place where he was injured eventually discovering the truth behind elder sister Jane’s story. I came out from this production much moved and yet heartened to know that good story telling is still to be found in new works. If pushed to pick a fault it would be that some of the spoken dialogue would be hard to hear after a few rows in this big hall. There were no mics on any of the cast which is a pity as it just needed a little lift during the spoken parts. Again RCS have excelled themselves bringing multiple productions to Edinburgh each of which deliver consistently high performances from their respective excellent casts.