Leith Arches, Edinburgh – until 30 August 2021
The atmospheric setting for 1902 has been set in a disused arches space in an industrial area of Leith. It’s a bit off the Fringe beaten track but I can assure you it’s well worth the trip.
The stripped-back walls of the arches venue have been customised with a purpose-built scaffolding mezzanine level where we find the casts musician (Sandy Bain) nestled at the top. Based in the Dog and Duck pub where a sturdy wooden table is a central focus for the performance of the play. The outside setting adds to the play rustic atmosphere where the other “arches” units in the road are still in everyday use.
Deeks aka Derek (Nathan Scott-Dunn) will go to any lengths to attend the 2016 football match between Rangers and his beloved Hibernian. They last beat them in 1902 and missing this final isn’t an option. However, borrowing a grand from the local psychotic loan shark Craig Turnbull (Jonny Tulloch) could be a step too far. Can his estranged brother Tony (Sands Stirling) be the answer to his escalating violent situation?
As a member of the audience, we are fully submersed within the action to the point that you can see the whites of the actor’s eyes in several aggressive scenes, especially when a fight breaks out between Craig and Tony. There is no escape for the audience at any given point during the performance as we are fully immersed in the storyline and witness every violent blow.
Described by Saltire Sky as “a play 114 years in the making” 1902 certainly packs a hard-hitting punch into how far a football fan is willing to go to share in person a historical moment in their team’s momentous occasion.
Saltire Sky creates immersive theatre which they hope will have a lasting memory on audience members. I can safely say this had to be one the most powerful performances I have ever watched. Leaving the arches I was completely blown away by the entire experience which is exactly what live Theatre is all about.