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Ciara (Edinburgh Fringe)

David Harrower returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with his new one-woman play, starring Blythe Duff at the Traverse

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Ciara stands alone in an empty warehouse, dressed in the green pleated gown of a Greek tragedy queen, telling us about her life as an only daughter of a Glasgow criminal, treading those mean streets again in her dreams.

David Harrower's new play is, as you would expect, beautifully written, even beautifully over-written, creating an atmosphere of narrative intensity and foreboding, and it's underpinned, also unsurprisingly, by personal tragedy and an incident of sexual abuse, betrayal and disillusion.

The monodrama in a crowded and sinister landscape is expertly discharged by a serene, decisively articulate Blythe Duff, and rhythmically staged by Traverse artistic director Orla O'Loughlin. But it's sometimes hard to keep track of Ciara's journey to the top of the art world – she's a successful gallery owner – and her burgeoning relationship with her most eminent client.

Ciara is speaking to us – but why, exactly? – at a crossroads in her life, which explains at least the ruminative, explanatory and dreamily descriptive nature of her speech; it's as though she's in mourning for her life, and her brother's, while setting out on a new artistic adventure in this warehouse – eerily designed by Anthony Lamble, poetically lit by Philip Gladwell – as part of Glasgow's "exciting riverside development."

Ciara continues at the Traverse until 25 August (not 12, 19)