Review: Inverurie Herald, 4 May 2001
Inverurie Town Hall
Saturday April 28
Among the world's culinary conundrums — fried rice or noodles? hot dog or
hamburger? taco or tortilla? sheep's eye or goat's head? — is that posed by
Inverurie's Spotlight Theatre Company in their production Soul Traders: do you like
cream or ice-cream on your sticky toffee pudding?
The solution is offered by George (Douglas Prosser), a retired man with a stall
on the car boot sale at the centre of this play: you can have them both, side-by-side,
Having your cake and eating it epitomizes George: his musings on food reveal his
betrayal of his wife Pat (Diane Shepherd) by nipping round to neighbour Elsie Bannock
(Wendy Urquhart) and nibbling her fancy pieces — and other home-cooked items.
Moreover, Elsie, Pat and the knowing Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Fiona (Margaret
Lee) run a stall advertised on their bright yellow t-shirts as Tarts R Us.
While that Coventry cake (a three-sided pastry) emerges whole — Pat accepts
that Elsie can do pieces for her husband but not mealie-pudding, for that delicacy
he must have from his wife — the teenage troubles of Tamsin and Tim are left
on the boil. Eighteen-year-old Tamsin (Tanya Doig) is pregnant, sixteen-year-old
Tim (Gordon Young) is the father; her mother Anne (Sally Ross) is an alcoholic,
her father Graham (Graeme Mathieson) has an American love-child.
Ron and Maggie (Laurence Young and Nancy Hudghton) are Tim's oblivious parents and
Chelsea (Rebecca Jones) is the big sister home from varsity with body piercing to
show for it.
And this van-load of trouble is all set out at the car-boot sale, inadvertently
attended by a stranger, Shaun (Lee Simpson), whose agonised monologue opens Soul
Traders with the feeling that in his car boot there is a corpse.
Sustained for two acts, the secret of Shaun's boot is weaved between the mounting
tension of Tamsin's secret, Tim's angst, the pangs of George's stomach and the contrasting
attentions of car boot steward Mrs Reid (Anne Yule) and dodgy dealer Derek (James
Two breathless hours from the Spotlight saw the comic Doric chorus Pat, Elsie, and
Fiona get good laughs, a howl greeted George's sticky-toffee pudding spiel (it could
have been a soliloquy delivered in the grand manner) and when Ron joined in the
elder generation gave a comic turn with memorable moments such as the definition
of retirement as 'you don't have time... just spaces when you're not doing anything'.
Chequered with the laughs was the teenagers' heart-wringing, the alcoholism of Tamsin's
mum and Shaun's mounting hysteria, but unlike the comedy these weren't all tied
up. Shaun's secret remained undisclosed, giving the uncomfortable impression that
he was little more than a dramatic device to prise open the lives of the stall holders
— regrettable because Simpson played him with a lot of feeling.
Written by the Lemon Tree Writers, Soul Traders raised laughs and drew silences
and was an ambitious production for Spotlight Theatre warmly welcomed by a capacity
audience at Inverurie Town Hall: as a whole it bodes well for the local drama group.
All proceeds from the production were in aid of Strathburn School funds.
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