As part of this year’s Formation Festival lineup, Strawmoddie Theatre Company bring Foxgloves to the Assembly Roxy here in Edinburgh. The poisonous plant takes centre stage, albeit subtly, as a formerly estranged sibling duo try to reconcile their relationship. Nancy and her older brother Serge are trying to clear out their grandfather’s basement after his passing. On the surface of it, all seems normal. But tensions brew in the claustrophobic and surreal environment of the basement, with it eventually becoming harder and harder for the audience to separate fact from fiction. The sifting through of a dead man’s belongings adds a necessary touch of intrigue and makes for a well thought-out production.
Foxgloves wastes no time before diving straight into establishing Nancy and Serge’s relationship; it is a fast-paced piece from the outset. A number of boxes and clutter are a metaphorical representation of their combined baggage from over the years, which loom unaccounted for.
Actors Madeleine McGirk and Alexander Gray play their parts with considerable credibility and sincerity. However, Jonathan Whiteside’s script slows down mid-way through the piece. Some of the scares are predictable. Also, the background narration adds nothing to the production. If anything, the actors are fine without the narrator explaining what they are about to do next.
Despite that, David Laing’s production has a few things going for itself. A plot twist at the end, a nicely executed finish and good use of the space and the props all make Foxgloves an enjoyable piece of theatre to watch, as they serve to create an surrealistic atmosphere within the theatre. As for the play’s genre, horror may be a bit too far: spine-tingling would be more appropriate.