A man who has recorded every episode of Seinfeld on VHS is the kind of man there should be a play about. Luckily, that man is the character from Martin McCormick's auobiographical piece, South Bend. Enamoured with America from childhood, Martin finally gets the chance to study in California when he's 23, and falls madly in love. Sadly 23-year-old Martin doesn't get the ending that he deserves, but this is a beautiful story about what it is to be human.
Martin talks about loving the hit 90s show Blossom because even though he couldn't understand all of the dialogue, they "spoke like they'd swallowed a dictionary". Well, McCormick's writing is Scottish and scathing, but also honest and moving – eat your heart out Blossom. It means that everyone, even the most stonyhearted, are able to have a real connection to the story.
There is also something about live, onstage foley that makes a show that little bit magic. David A Pollock's soundscape is flawless—suitcases being dragged over gravel; scotch being poured down the sink; cars careering off roads—we're not just watching Martin in South Bend, we're right there with him. Even though the story is pretty damn traumatic at times, Pollock's foley still manages to capture that lazy, Americana feel.
South Bend is a truly touching piece of theatre, and from the set to the video design, everything is so well crafted. This is an absolute gem of a show.
Grid Iron is an Edinburgh based new writing theatre company.
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