The Authorised Kate Bane

Edinburgh, Traverse 2

October 2012

Ella Hickson’s deeply personal new play, which toyed with ideas of memory as well as the guilt and pain associated with financial privilege and emotional childhood trauma, was Grid Iron’s first return to a conventional theatre for eight years.

It was also the first time the company had played Traverse 2 since the company’s debut production Clearance in 1996. Jenny Hulse led a strong cast on a stunning conceptual set by Becky Minto.

The dialogue fizzed and sparkled in an at times devastatingly comic war of words as all four characters set about destroying each other in order to maintain their own identity.

Mark Fisher, The Guardian

the clever concept holds it together, as does Hulse’s impassioned central performance.

Alan Radcliffe, The List

Ben Harrison’s production finds a nice balance between the realism of Hickson’s dialogue and the knowing artifice of the conceit

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

realised with tremendous technical skill, over 100 minutes of continuous action, in Ben Harrison’s immaculately directed production, which flicks effortlessly between different levels of reality…there’s also a searingly honest and beautiful central performance from Jenny Hulse.

Keith Bruce, The Herald

On a beautifully constructed set (by Becky Minto) that resembles a Christian Boltanski art installation, where personal artefacts are stored in file boxes, Ben Harrison’s production faithfully pursues Hickson’s exploration of how we torment and trick ourselves…

Thom Dibdin, The Stage

Hulse is in stunning form as Kate… there is enough subtlety to Harrison’s direction to ensure it never feels too self-referential… a fascinating production with an Escher-like playfulness in its examination of the nature of creation Ella Hickson’s sharply bright script cuts between writer and performance…Director Ben Harrison achieves a clear distinction between the two frames… The joy of the piece, however, is in how the two worlds bleed into one another.

Emma Hay, TV Bomb

Ella Hickson’s new play superbly articulates the complexities of social conditioning and biology as they intertwine. Hickson’s writing shows real sophistication as she opens up the family history, lets chaos run wild and stitches it neatly back together again. Witty lines capture the nuanced frustration of Kate as she struggles to define herself as part of a middle-class family and as a lefty playwright endeavouring to evoke social change. It’s an excruciatingly frank portrayal of growing up, realising (and coming to terms with) who you are, packed into a compelling 100 minutes. Hickson grasps the correlation between perception, memory and truth and uses it to powerful effect as the play twists towards closing.