Standby for Tape Back-Up

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): Standby for Tape Back-Up at Summerhall (Venue 26). Review by Sally Stott

Ross Sutherland is part of a growing genre, consisting of laid-back blokes – and the odd woman – who don’t so much feel as if they’re performing a show as having a chat.

This one starts with Sutherland showing us a VHS tape found after his grandfather’s death. On it are bits of film footage, TV shows and adverts from the 1980s, which he uses as inspiration for rattling poems charting different experiences in his life: The Crystal Maze becomes about ways of measuring time and a particularly amusing commercial for Nat West’s newfangled “Hole in the Wall” a metaphor for dealing with a soul-destroying office job.

It allows Sutherland to cover a wide range of subjects from his relationship with his grandfather to philosophical musings on the nature of life and death. The scope is too broad to be satisfying – though there are some funny and profound moments.

Until 24 August. Today 8:30pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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