Swivelhead at Pleasance Courtyard
Amidst all that is abstract and avant-garde at the Edinburgh Fringe, Pipeline Theatre offers respite with a solid piece of scriptwriting. Swivelhead is the young theatre company’s fourth show, following its critically-acclaimed Transports, Streaming and Spillikin – a love story.
In this production, Paddy is an RAF drone operator, no longer a fighter jet pilot due to poor health. He has always been sure of his duty, but the younger generation has brought with it a new-age warfare and updated Rules of Engagement, leaving him disoriented and frustrated. We come to know Paddy through conversations with new recruit Callum and with his beloved sister Hattie, whose wedding day is approaching. On the big day, Paddy must finally confront the deepening conflicts between his duty and morality and reconcile with his childhood. It is unhelpful – to say the least – that he also seems to be turning into an owl…
Ben Dyson gives a sterling, complete performance as Paddy, his genteel RP accent the perfect vehicle for his politically incorrect sense of humour. Juliet Welch is cheerfully loveable as Hattie, while Lewis Howard provides Callum with just the right level of earnestness with which to counterbalance Paddy. Swivelhead delivers an innovative set, a real drone and even an unexpected moment of puppetry, a fitting complement to Jon Welch’s naturalistic and thoughtful script.
One of Pipeline’s skills lies in effectually creating a grand-scale ethical dilemma as a landscape in which to house a personal one. Within these microcosms of morality, the individual scrambles to prevent the millstone round his neck from letting the world drown him, yet his story is presented with such tenderness as to give us hope for his redemption.
Watching a Pipeline Theatre play is like watching one of the classics, trusting all the while that it is carefully building to something sublime.
Swivelhead is at Pleasance Courtyard from 3rd until 29th August 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the promo for Swivelhead here: