After the success of “Collected Stories” in Los Angeles, Natalie took the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The following are the reviews from there!
Written by Don Margulies and created by Langland Productions
Review by Leah Wainwright
As I took my seat on the front row of the downstairs auditorium of the New Town Theatre, I was surprised at what lay before me. It was a set; an actual set. Through the fringe I had not particularly noticed the lack of stage dressing, I had no problem imagining a whole world constructed around a few sheets, tables and a chair or two. So to see a meticulous set, well I was positively giddy with excitement. Drinking in the sight before me, it was clear to determine the era, locations and mood of the performance. The play takes place inside one apartment over a period of six years beginning in September 1990 and ending in ’96. A nod must be given to ‘Impact Arts’ who were responsible for the design and did a wonderful job of giving the production solid foundations, allowing the audience to settle into the production immediately. Following this initial thrill, I had only a moment to wonder about the rest of the performance before the lights dimmed. What followed was ninety minutes of captivating theatre. Natalie Sutherland and April Lang gave flawless performances as Lisa and Ruth. The two actresses displayed extraordinary talent as the characters lives and stories unfold before the audience’s eyes, and not through dialogue alone. From scene to scene we can feel the growing weight of the relationship, the increased familiarity and the change in the women’s roles in one another’s lives. There were times when it felt as though the whole audience held their breath in suspense or shock, or shared the nervous laughter of Lisa giving her first public reading. Sutherland and Lang gave staggering performances, taking hold of the audience and pulling them into a cosy flat in the early nineties.Donald Margulies’ script is exquisite. The writing is rich with layers, with parallels flickering between the characters’ lives, relationships and their writing. Margulies treats the audience as intelligent viewers, able to piece together human nature, friendships and events. Consequently many plot revelations are so subtle when the penny drops it clangs like a bell. Collected Stories is a fabulous piece of theatre in which audiences are treated to sophisticated writing and unparalleled acting. Langland productions have given Edinburgh audiences’ thought-provoking theatre that is sure to stay in your mind long after your have left your seat.~ ~ ~
one4review | On 14, Aug 2013
This production of Donald Margulies play fully absorbs as it builds from a simple beginning to a tense and dramatic conclusion. It is a thought-provoking piece of theatre, exploring the themes of friendship, ambition and betrayal. Actresses Natalie Sutherland as Lisa, whom we first see as a young student, and April Lang as Ruth an English Professor and famous novelist give beautifully constructed performances.
The action is set in Ruth’s apartment in New York over a six year period in the 1990’s. In the opening scene, Lisa arrives for her first tutorial with Ruth. Lisa has a lively, determined personality and is excited at her meeting on a one to one basis with her literary idol. Ruth is controlled, seeing a spark of real talent in Lisa’s essay. Their friendship develops over the next year as they form a close teacher/pupil relationship.
However, cracks begin to appear as Lisa begins to find some success in her own right as a writer and now she is beginning to find more independence as a person not relying exclusively on Ruth for mentoring. Move forward several years and their personalities have changed, particularly Lisa’s. She has become a critically acclaimed writer, whilst Ruth is now showing signs of advancing years. However, Lisa’s first novel is based on a revelation that Ruth had made in the early period of their friendship of a relationship she had had as a young woman in the 1950’s.
The final scene brings to a head the now unbridgeable gulf between them, but who has betrayed who? It is not quite as straightforward as it might seem.
Reviewed by Ben