SCORCH Adelaide Fringe 2017

Holden Street Theatres’ Edinburgh Fringe Award in association with Prime Cut Productions. Adelaide Fringe. 15 Feb 2017


She’s only 17 and not the smartest kid in the class. Her world is a swirl of online games, hip hop music, social media, avatars and handles. Within it all, she is looking for her identity and worrying about her sexual orientation. She goes by the androgynous name of Kaz and identifies as a “boi” or masculine girl.


Amy McAllister is the performer of this one-hander by Belfast playwright Stacey Gregg. She is lean and fit and fast. She dances like a coiled spring. She prowls the circular carpet which is the stage of her theatre-in-the-round. Sometimes she sits in the audience and expounds.


And then she answers the electronic summons of Skype whence the girl to whom she’s been chatting online is seeking the next step in getting to know her. For Kaz, this is the big time of love and plans are realised to meet in real life. Kaz is as sexually naive as she is ingenuous in most other ways. But this encounter with Jewel is cause for immense joy and celebration. McAllister is utterly infectious in her expressions of this fulfilment. It is simply beautiful to share. And even when Jewel drops her, Kaz’s happiness survives because now she is not an unloved no one, she has an “ex” and to have an “ex” you have had a love. In all this positivity and joy, one knows that something dark must be coming but its nature really takes one quite by surprise. It is a huge and terrible human predicament, one which once may have been very obscure indeed but in today’s world of diverse gender orientations, runs close to the moral and ethical bone.


McAllister gives an intense, high-energy performance. She is compelling and so is the play. Not surprising it has been winning awards all over the place.


It is a fine piece of theatre which touches the nerve of today’s gender issues.


Samela Harris


When: 15 Feb to 19 Mar

Where: The Studio, Holden Street Theatres