HighTide and DugOut Theatre present Songlines, a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a folk-inspired score. Jonathan Penney reviews:

To define Songlines would mean to split it into two distinct sections: the storyline, performed by the cast of two; and the musicality of the folk-inspired score, performed by award-winning band TRILLS.

The awkward encounters of Stevie (Fanta Barrie) & Stan (Joe Hurst) resonates with many people, ensuring that Tallulah Brown‘s content is even more humorous. Stevie has an attitude – she does not allow her feelings to be broadcast to the outside world. Juxtapose this with Stan, goofy and awkward in social situations. The couple certainly have their teething issues. As they grow as individuals and learn more about each other, each teenager learns to trust and understand their counterpart. There is a comical, entertaining awkwardness played out through George Chilcott‘s direction, with some witty one-liners that also allows deeper themes to be explored.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 Songlines

Joe Hurst & Fanta Barrie (image courtesy of Helen Maybanks)

Songlines‘ comedic storyline is played alongside a score of original folk music composed by TRILLS. However, this is where the show is let down. Each track does not differentiate itself from the last, blending from one to the other and not providing any variety. The band appear to be a filler in between scenes rather than being an integral part of the storyline. If you removed the music altogether, it would have little impact on the characters or their interactions.

What Songlines attempts to accomplish is an interesting concept, with the West Country setting acting as the main link to the music selection. But to warrant this concept, there needs to be more variety in the score, otherwise the overall feel of the show is that of an amusing play with some filler music attached between scenes. As a performance, the play would be better served being performed without such composition.




Songlines runs at Pleasance Courtyard as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 until 26 August 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.