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Review: The Dwelling Place ****

Lorna Irvine reviews an 'impressive' production.

Brothers Jamie and Lewis Wardrop's latest piece for Cryptic is at once rooted in modernity and nostalgia, dealing as it does with the loss of community and innocence in the face of big business.

Inspired by a trip to the Outer Hebrides, where they found an abandoned cottage in Leverburgh in South Harris, this immersive piece, which is a blend of art/video installation, storytelling and musical soundtrack, both woozy and traditional, is a poignant rumination on an uncertain future.

Unilever had a hand in tearing down a small community, and it's up to the brothers to reconstruct it through keeping its memory alive. Lewis' fiddle-playing is eerie and beautiful, evoking loneliness and the desolation of a dying fishing industry and population, and Jamie reads poetry which is chilling, wry and shot through with a wee dram of the golden stuff.

The found materials (clothing, old cassettes, maps, cutlery) and footage has the haunting quality of a house clearance, of things once inhabited. Now the paint is peeling off walls and the walls are exposed, but the fire still burns. It is at times reminiscent of Boards of Canada and the Radiophonic Workshop, with the hallucinatory quality of a fever dream, and yet it has a gritty sense of defiance, of survival and keeping the spirit of Old Scotland alive: there is nothing twee, haggisy or sentimental here.

Part of Cryptic Nights at CCA, run ended.

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