Review: I’m With the Band, Traverse


An allegory out of tune

The premise of Welsh playwright Tim Price’s latest piece – in which the travails of a once successful indie rock group called The Union (comprised of an Englishman, a Scotsman, a Welshman and a Northern Irishman) represent the current constitutional politics of the United Kingdom – always seemed unprepossessing. In reality, this co-production between the Traverse and the Wales Millennium Centre is even worse than one might have feared.

Any writer worth their salt should know that a “literal metaphor” is an oxymoron, yet Price has, with apparent alacrity, written an attempted political allegory which consists of the most heavy-handed parallels. From the moment Scottish guitarist, Barry, quits the band in the midst of a financial crisis, the painfully direct comparisons come thick-and-fast. Perhaps the most grating analogy centres upon the turbulent, love-hate relationship between (presumably Protestant) Northern Irishman Aaron and his (presumably Catholic) partner Sinead.

Devoid not only of subtlety, but also of anything approximating real drama, this play (which, incredibly, is set to tour the UK) should never have made it to the Traverse stage. (Mark Brown)

Traverse, 0131 228 1404, until 25 Aug (not 12 & 19), various times, £18-20 (£13-£15).

This review was originally published on the website of The List magazine on August 7, 2013:

© Mark Brown

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