Assembly @ Assembly Hall, Mound Place
6-31 August (ex. 17,24) 12.00
This production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, is as perfectly pitched as Anna Francolini’s Murrayfield accent (which was faultless).
Clever use of black and white projected images, and a rather dour, minimal set, lent an air of modernity and sobriety to what audiences can all too easily assume is a delightful schoolgirl drama. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is wonderfully comic, and filled with adolescent capers, but there is a dark presence in the play that this production allows to pervade without oppressing.
Anna Francolini leads the production from the helm, lending a barely perceptible fragility to the otherwise forceful Miss Jean. Her ‘girls’ moved effortlessly between rather clichéd schoolgirl giggles and weighty coming-of-age roles. Sandy, in particular (played by Natalie McConnon), smouldered with increasing insight and discontent as the play progressed, and the darker undercurrents broke to the surface; dispelling any notions of this being a light-hearted comedy.
Sometimes, during the Fringe one starts to crave a polished, ‘old school’ production and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie certainly satisfies such longings. Played out in the Assembly Hall on the Mound, which befittingly transports the audience to the days of lectures and school assemblies, this Edinburgh based drama is the crème de la crème for any festival goer this year.