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  • Henry Longstaff

Salty Irina - Summerhall Edinburgh Fringe

Queer love takes on the far right

Salty Irina
Photography - Alex Brenner


When Eireni steps out of her front door to find a fresh pool of blood she feels compelled to do something. Suspected racist murders have become commonplace in the city she calls home so with her new whirlwind romance Anna, the pair set out to infiltrate the growing far-right contingent and find the source of the killings.

An initial hurdle in Eve Leigh’s new play is its vague setting. The unnamed northern European city lacks the historical and political landscape that would enhance our understanding of the world in which the characters exist - we are left playing catch up instead. This is equally true for the two women, though we are instantly immersed in their relationship, I never reached a point where I felt I knew who these people were as if I’d walked in a few minutes late and missed the first few chapters.

That being said Yasemin Özdemir (Eireni) and Hannah Van Der Westhuysen (Anna) work effortlessly to form the couple, bringing a nice natural chemistry that lifts this production. Their back and forth is comfortable as they uncover their common ground despite the differing histories that initially separate them. Later in the play, they are joined by Francesca Knight as Jana, a right-wing attendee at the festival Eireni and Anna sneak into. Knight whilst offering a strong performance, her character addition is a little jarring and disrupts the rapport that the play has worked so hard to form in the previous 50 minutes.

There is something patiently waiting in this play to be further explored but in its current form, it remains buried. Compelling performances and a nice touch of design are not enough to lift this beyond the confines of the script though I am sure further work can solve much of this.

Running 9-14th, 16-21th, 23-25th, 27th - Tickets

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