Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story

at Summerhall

* * * * -

Ben Caplan and his band present a gig theatre experience.

Image of Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Ben Caplan and 2btheatre are behind the gig theatre experience that is Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story. The show takes place at the Canada Hub at King’s Hall on South Clerk Street, just around the corner from Summerhall.

Old Stock is described as a “humorously dark folk tale woven together with a high energy concert“. It features text by playwright Hannah Moscovitch and is inspired the remarkable and true stories of her Jewish Romanian refugee Great-Grandparents, who travelled to Canada in the early 1900’s.

The band for the performance consists of Ben Caplan (compere and vocals), Mary Fay Coady (violin and also playing the role of Chaya) Christopher Weatherstone (Woodwinds and the role of Chaim), Graham Scott (keyboard and accordion) and Jamie Kronick (drums).

Chaim and Chaya meet just of the boat from Europe. At the port at Halifax in Nova Scotia they talk, disagree, and eventually fall in love, move in together and then have children. Their story is not that straight forward though. They have to adjust to the Canadian lifestyle and find themselves at the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse. Their child also suffers from an illness and due to their refugee status, medical care is not freely available.The story of Old Stock is told by Ben Caplan and is interspersed with music, drama and narration. He has a loud booming voice and hosts the show with humour and heart. The soundtrack takes influence from old Eastern European folk music and sounds fantastic, as the upbeat tunes wash over the audience and gets them clapping along with the infectious rhythms.

The quality of work presented at the Canada Hub at the Edinburgh Fringe has been fantastic, with a variety of diverse and exciting shows. Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story is without doubt one of the best and showcases how expressive, sentimental and engaging musical theatre can be.