Published: 18/05/2017 10:32 - Updated: 18/05/2017 10:51

REVIEW: Mobile

Written byHector Mackenzie

Mobile: did its intimate setting connect with our reviewer?
Mobile: did its intimate setting connect with our reviewer?

Mobile (*****)

Presented by The Paper Birds on Eden Court lawn

As a venue for this thoroughly engaging exploration of social mobility, the caravan now sitting right outside Eden Court is a bold and inspired choice.

There’s a delightful irony in the temporary location of this caravan – in town until Sunday – literally on the doorstep of the biggest theatre complex in the Highlands. Eden Court seats 1000 people. The caravan allows a maximum audience per show of just eight.

But this is no ordinary caravan and Mobile is no ordinary piece of theatre. If you like your performance art cosy, it doesn’t come much cosier than sitting in a caravan with a maximum of seven other people.

A little awkward?  Rest assured, it’s not. By the time you step inside, the ice has been broken and your sense of curiosity well and truly piqued. You may even be offered a biscuit...

At various points in history a symbol of affluence and of a basic working class holiday, the caravan’s popularity has risen and declined over time. For a show about class in general and social mobility in particular, it’s somehow perfect as a venue.

Our narrator (we’ll let her introduce herself) starts with her childhood, her story interspersed with cleverly worked in recorded interview clips and TV footage.

We hear first-hand from people who have experienced profound upward social mobility through interviews recorded as part of a research project by sociologist, Dr Sam Friedman. We see politicians pontificating about life chances and their view of social mobility.

Thanks to a collaboration with a group called The Media Workshop, this becomes a fully immersive experience which makes brilliant use of the small space and helps produce some moving moments as well as allowing a lot of good material to be packed into a short performance.

It’s a story about who you are, where you have come from and the influence that your parents and their upbringing has had on you. It invites the audience to consider whether class is still a major factor in our lives and if we’re held back by where we were born and went to school. Should we feel proud or embarrassed about where we’re from?

There are three members of cast who play the narrator. On this occasion it was Shona Cowie who made an instant connection with her audience, setting the scene for an absorbing, thought-provoking and entertaining performance over the course of the next 40 minutes.

Small but perfectly formed, Mobile is a class act that takes its audience on a journey of self-discovery and gently invites further contemplation on its main themes. Highly recommended.

Mobile is at Eden Court until Sunday, May 21 (except Friday, where it moves to the Botanic Gardens), with multiple performances per day. For full details or to book tickets, go to www.eden-court.co.uk

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