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Songlines (HighTide)

HighTide and DugOut Theatre present    

Songlines by Tallullah Brown 

Stevie and Stan are 17. Stevie is peak cool. Stan is peak geek. Interwoven with beautiful live folk songs from award winning band TRILLS, Songlines is a coming-of-age love story in all its awkward teen glory.  

Buy tickets for Edinburgh Festival, HighTide Festival (Aldeburgh and Walthamstow) and tour here.

SONGLINES was listed as one of the 'Best Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018' in the Guardian - see the list here.

★★★★ The Times. Anna Treneman: 'This tale of an awkward young courtship is perfectly pitched. Soft, gentle, playful — it’s gig theatre, but not as we know it'

'Fanta Barrie as Stevie and Joe Hurst as Stan are terrific. Their awkward courtship is perfectly pitched, and members of the audience groaned and laughed as it wobbled along. The party scene, a pool party at a house without a pool, is teenage cringe perfect. [...] there was no lack of gig theatre or coming-of-age love stories at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, but this one, produced by HighTide and DugOut Theatre, has a bit of magic about it. Its delicately sketched story runs true, and it never even gets close to sentimentality or cliché.'

★★★★ The Scotsman, Susan Mansfield: 'the play centres on two superb performances'

'The play centres on two superb performances from Fanta Barrie (Stevie), mouthy and city-smart but cast adrift in this unfamiliar world, and Joe Hurst (Stan), frank and down-to-earth, confident in his connection to the land but not in his relationships with his peers. Both actors captures with uncomfortable accuracy the heady adolescent mix of knowing everything yet, at other times, being entirely guileless. [...] Songlines is a charming piece of theatre, often very funny, and unflinchingly accurate about the problems of growing up.'

★★★★ The Stage, Fergus Morgan: ‘sensitive and soulful gig theatre’

'Ah, be still my beating heart. Tallulah Brown’s Songlines, co-produced by DugOut Theatre and HighTide, is the kind of quirky teenage love story that makes you remember that you used to have feelings once as well. 

Does it have more to offer than a coming-of-age love story? Not much more, to be honest, but sometimes a tender tale of young romance set to beautiful songs is enough. Easily enough.

Gig theatre is making a lot of noise in Edinburgh this year. It’s well worth catching this quieter contribution.'

★★★★, Tom Wicker:

'Like the Vikings seen walking the shoreline by the mother of one of its main characters, there’s something timeless about Songlines. Backed by live music from folk group Trills, Tallulah Brown’s play could easily lapse into whimsy, but instead rides a wave of gentleness and empathy for teenage awkwardness.

[Fanta] Barrie and [Joe] Hurst—both of whom are making their professional debuts here—are a strong, contrasting pairing. She’s sarcastic, uncertain and wounded, poised for attack as defence. Hurst, meanwhile, beautifully underplays Stan, finding something funnier and less predictably drawn than just ‘the local loner’ in his off-the-cuff delivery.   

It’s not sugar-coated. There’s a reason why Stevie left her last school, and it’s brought to light by something that happens to her during the play. But this is woven into the wider story of two people trying to make sense of where they are in their lives. There’s a wistfulness to Trills' music that’s not easy nostalgia.'

Exeunt Magazine, Hailey Bachrach:

'Songlines [is a] a sweet and delicate show about a boy and a girl in the English countryside. It sounds simple, but like a song, it’s all in the details.[...] Fanta Barrie and Joe Hurst embody teenage awkwardness without overplaying it, and they and the design team evoke a whole world with the lightest touches. [...] 

Being teenagers, Stevie and Stan recognise that a single moment can change your entire life. A single well-chosen song can be the difference between bliss and soul-rending devastation. One misunderstanding, or miscommunication, or just bad day can tear a friendship apart. Losing a friendship can, in turn, be the end of the world. But set to such gentle music, this way of experiencing life doesn’t seem excessive or hyperbolic.

It’s agonising, of course, because being a teenager is torturous. No one trusts you or believes you or understands you, and you don’t trust or believe or understand yourself. But it’s also, in its way, exquisite—to feel so deeply, to reach so fumblingly but unabashedly for connection. It’s sort of like living in a song.'

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Photograph: Helen Maybanks

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