Tonight is the final performance of Unveiled Secrets.

Reviewer Vee Freir casts her eye over a previous sold-out performance at the MacArts centre in Galashiels.

FOUR short plays, centred around four women and four secrets, by two local Scottish Borders writers, Anita John and Oliver Eade, played to a packed house at MacArts in aid of Children 1st Scotland.

This was a truly local event, as not only are the playwrights from the Scottish Borders, but so are the actors and the theatre company, Odd Productions Theatre.

Even the incidental music was from a local jazz musician, Leif Jorgenson.

The evening started with Anita John’s First Steps, which was Highly Commended in The Brief Encounters Project 2017.

Three generations of women visit an old railway museum for the grandmother, Dot’s, 80th birthday.

Dot’s daughter, Lizzie and her pregnant daughter, Jane, want this to be a perfect day out. However, inter-generational tensions threaten to overshadow the birthday treat, until Dot reveals a secret that she has kept hidden from her family for more than 60 years.

In The Other Nathan, by Oliver Eade, which was long-listed for the 2015 British Theatre Challenge, Aunt Beth, a confused old lady constantly refers to ‘the other Nathan’, which everyone treats as part of her muddled thinking. She incessantly calls her nephew Nathan, which threatens his marriage and tests his temper until she reveals her long-held secret.

Next on was The Other Cat, also by Oliver Eade, which won first prize in The Segora International One Act Play Competition in 2018. A strange tale of ‘did it/didn’t it happen’ based on the premise of Shrodinger’s Cat. Poppy finds a body, but, as we eventually find out, it has her phone, shoes and coat. What’s going on? Are things real or imagined?

The final play, another of Oliver Eade’s, which was also long-listed for the 2015 British Theatre Challenge, was based on a true story.

Give The Dog A Bone is a tale of a manipulative mother and her twin daughters. The mother has just discharged herself from hospital after breaking her hip and one of her daughter’s, Eleanor, shows up in her mother’s house thinking she’s still in hospital. Eleanor, despite her mother’s wicked tongue and with nothing nice to say about her daughter, is still there for her mother. Eleanor is trying to get her mother to see sense and go to a home where she can be looked after.

Then Eleanor’s twin, Greta, who’s not been seen for some years shows up. Greta reveals her shocking secret to her sister and her still in denial mother, which makes it clear why she stayed away so long.

All seven actors were brilliant in their depictions of the characters, with special mention going to Erin Christie, who was in three of the plays, First Steps, The Other Nathan and The Other Cat; David Bon, who took on four roles in The Other Cat; and Elsie Horobin, who was superb as Aunt Beth in The Other Nathan and totally believable as the manipulative mother, Moira in Give The Dog A Bone.

Unveiled Secrets has played to packed audiences in Selkirk and Carlops before coming to Galashiels.

by Vee Freir