Tunnels by Oliver Yellop – Army at the Fringe, Edinburgh

Army at the Fringe, for several years an unlikely addition to Edinburgh many seasonal venues, deserves serious credit for running a programme of in-person shows in a year when, understandably, very few have taken the risk. The East Claremont Street Army Reserve base makes for a very welcome temporary venue, run by highly organised territorials.

Tunnels is a response to the 60th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall, which appeared almost overnight without warning, imprisoning residents of the GDR in their own half of the city, and residents of West Berlin in theirs. Writer Oliver Yellop also stars, with Lewis Bruniges, in a two-hander set in a tunnel under the wall. The two men are digging their way towards the west and freedom. It’s a clever setting for personal and political tensions to play out, although a lot of time is taken with the constraints of digging in a confined space. It is a timely drama, both because it highlights history that is fast fading from the collective memory, at least outside Germany, and because we need live drama very much this summer. Many thanks are due to everyone who has made this happen.

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