Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Hemmed In, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott.
“What am I going to do? Where I am going to live? How will I get by on 47 quid?” So sing the female prisoners in this new musical, by Ruth Cobbin, when they’re released from jail and told to start a new life with only this in their pockets.
Performed by a collective of talented Scottish graduates, accompanied by catchy piano numbers, it’s an uplifting piece that is, at times, refreshingly grounded in real life, but which can’t quite escape the heightened reality of musical theatre land.
The women end up on a fashion-designing scheme, overseen by former prisoner Kate, who also happens to be a celebrity, after which they get the opportunity to model the beautiful dresses they make for a glitzy catwalk show.
It’s an idealised story that at times feels like something from a young person’s imagination, rather than a truthful depiction of what life after prison is actually like. But when former drug addict Bobbie reoffends, it leads to a well-judged ending that’s both authentic and hopeful.
The cast have strong voices, and the contemporary songs have a Celtic influence that nicely complements Cobbin’s warm and amiable dialogue, capturing the camaraderie and determination of a group of young women.
theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39) until 28 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 17 August 2015
Edinburgh Festivals 2015: complete coverage
• Get everything on our Festivals homepage – on desktop, mobile or tablet
• Looking for reviews? Check out the latest Scotsman reviews – or browse all the reviews ranked by star rating
• Watch all the latest videos from the #WOWwagon
• Get distracted by our Festival Blog
• Follow our social accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and join the conversation with #WOWfest