- Kate Smurthwaite- ‘The Last Mayor of Fihalhoni’ (*****)
One of the greatest delights of this August has been The Last Mayor of Fihalhohi who, it turns out, is Kate Smurthwaite. Now, before you assume that she was involved in some radical feminist, left-wing coup which overthrew a perfectly nice bloke in charge, shattered the patriarchy and installed an all-female junta which immediately passed a law making testosterone illegal, you should spend an hour with her and be absolutely entranced by her gorgeous, gripping, lockdown saga.
Turns out that Kate is an extraordinarily gifted storyteller. I have rarely sat in an audience so wholly absorbed in a performance. We gasp in shock, we rock with laughter, we tut disapprovingly at the little prick in the dive centre, and we pretty much hang on her every word as the story unfolds. I have passed the venue several times as her audiences spill out onto Niddrie Street. Every time they are glowing with the sort of excitement you get after a really good show. Every time I hear them worry about Nahim, chatter about how involved they felt and, on the odd occasion, start to work out their personal score in the Countries Game. If bookings in the Maldives suddenly go through the roof, I imagine many of us will recognise each other from an Edinburgh evening in the Banshee Labyrinth.
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