REVIEW by Penny SimpsonNWR Issue 102
Small Scale Tour
by Caroline Ross
Little love is lost amongst the artists fighting for the spotlight in Caroline Ross’ novel Small Scale Tour
. Set in Newcastle between the 1970s and the new millennium, it follows the mixed fortunes of actors belonging to a small-scale touring company, Kicking Theatre. The narrator is one of the company’s actors, Ham Johnson, and it is through his eyes that we learn of a tragedy that has broken apart a venture once poised on the verge of success.
The novel veers between prose and play text, an uneasy mix which disrupts the narrative’s flow and offers only a heavy-handed symbolism to the writer’s key themes. This is a pity, because Ross has a keen eye for observational comedy, best enjoyed in the prose sections where Ham’s sardonic reflections on things theatrical are contrasted with the colourful wisdom dispensed by the manager of his ‘day job’, corner shop proprietor Mr Najib Khan. A refugee from Afghanistan, he steps smartly out of his secondary character role thanks to his unorthodox interviewing technique and his encyclopaedic knowledge of cultural history...
is an MA student at the Human Rights Centre, Essex University. Her novel, The Deer Wedding
, is published by Alcemi. Her website can be found here
Want to read the full article? Go to our online shop where you can buy an individual issue or take out a subscription to NWR, saving £3.98 on the cover price. Prices start at £16.99 for three issues via Direct Debit, including p+p (UK only).
Buy this book at gwales.com
previous review: Welsh Gothic
next review: The Visitor