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Hatches, Matches and Dispatches

By Alan Cochrane


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It is 1924, one year after Parliament decreed that Edinburgh and Leith should become the one town. Old rivalries still fester and after the utter chaos that ensued at the funeral of an elderly Aunt, a Newhaven Fishwife who drowned in the harbour, the mourners gather in the tenement flat on the old boundary. An impending marriage between the two families, one Leith working class, the other Edinburgh upper middle class, is in jeopardy when an unmarried mother-to-be turns up at the door. There is also a lay-about bookies' runner, a grasping old Aunt and a Granny with a secret, which she discloses to save the collapse of the engagement between the young couple. Most of the complications arise from the presence of the ghost of the fishwife who can only be seen and heard by her own fresh and blood. She has a few old scores to settle herself, though she is supposed to be on her best behaviour so that she can earn her " wings'' and become an angel. Everything is resolved, as the crazy plot twists and turns, before the final curtain. The play was premiered during the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe by Edinburgh Peoples Theatre and directed by the Author. The play won a Fringe First Award for " outstanding new writing'' and played to enthusiastic full houses throughout its two-week run. " A first-rate play, which is as popular as, it deserves to be . . . '' The Scotsman