First Snow/Premiere Neige @ Summerhall

A truly breathtaking, beautiful performance which combines an almost Proustian family drama with current sociopolitical issues

Review by Alice Lannon | 31 Aug 2018

Patrice Dubois' First Snow/Premiere Neige, is a collaboration between the National Theatre of Scotland and two Quebec-based theatre companies; Théatre PÁP and Hotel Motel.

The play tells the tale of a half-Scottish, half-Québécois family who all reunite in the family home in the Quebec countryside at the behest of the family matriarch, Isabelle. Returning to the house from all over Quebec, Scotland and further afield, the Scottish and Québécois halves of the family are brought together by the independence movements in each country and they begin to talk about the future. As the play goes on, differences in familial and political opinions begin to escalate and the atmosphere begins to change. 

Written by Davey Anderson, Philippe Ducros and Linda McLean, and performed by actors from Canada and Scotland, the script is written in a mixture of both French and English, where the languages appear to interweave with one another quite naturally, although subtitles are also provided throughout the piece. The language barrier is dealt with quite playfully, with the actors frequently breaking the fourth wall – these self-referential moments help to lighten the tone of what is often a rather serious, thoughtful work.

Well-written and energetically acted with some highly physical, passionate performances, this is a relatable, relevant and thought provoking piece of theatre. First Snow/Premiere Neige takes the genre of family drama and modernises it by mixing in up with contemporary political and social issues – and using a multi lingual format to mirror communication conflicts between generations. A must see.

First Snow/Premiere Neige, Summerhall, until 26 Aug, 18:10, £15.00 (£13.00)

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