I’m With The Band ***
Traverse Theatre & Wales Millenium Centre
Written by Tim Price
Directed by Hamish Pirie
Award winning playwright, Tim Price, teamed up once again with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre Hamish Pirie to deliver the unique production I’m With The Band.
An explorative plot that aims to address the wider issue of Scottish Independence, I’m With The Band, sees The Union, an indie rock band made up of an Englishman, Scotsman, N.Irishman and a Welshman, struggle through financial crisis and the loss of a band member: the Scot.
What I loved:
- The production is delivered as an 11 song set list, with each witty song title announced by a band member and adding anticipation to the start of the scenes.
- Composed by Gordon McIntyre, the music that runs through the production is varied; packing a punch, threading a softer melody, or experimenting with electronica.
- There were some very funny moments, usually enhanced by the musical accompaniment (somewhere between Tenacios D and This is Spinal Tap…).
- The actors play the instruments live on stage, which is impressive when you learn that not all of them were musically trained initially.
- The drummer looks extremely good in nothing but a pair of tight white pants…!
Room for improvement:
- The politics the plot has been developed from did dictate a stereotypical nature for the characters, though the four actors did a very good job of fleshing them out, making them realistic, funny and interesting.
- There are scenes that take a little too long to get started or a little too long to end, which could make the performances seem stilted.
- The music occasionally drowned out the voices on stage, making it difficult to keep up with bits of dialogue.
- The comedy was sometimes overplayed, or rushed over (e.g. song/scene 9: Scottish Diplomacy, where the Irish and Scottish penchent for the more severe swearwords could have been funny but for the lack of pause…).
The excellent music and comedy made for an overall enjoyable theatre experience. I’m With The Band ended its tour at Wales Millenium Centre on Saturday 19th October 2013. I would not be surprised if it toured again; with some tweaks, it would definitely be a recommended viewing.