Theatre preview: Bated Breath @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Tonight (22 March) until Saturday (24 March), 8pm, £6-£10, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 228 1404/226 2666. www.traverse.co.uk

The first thing you noticed about Miss O’Brien was her manic stare. Then probably her crooked fingernails.

But by far what was most striking about this woman was her incompetence as a drama teacher.

If there were ever anyone in need of an utterly banal piece of theatre – often involving a poorly-scripted exploration of social issues such as teenage pregnancy, drug abuse or homosexuality, hyperbolised with lots of blackouts – then you could be sure she’d send along a small army of school pupils to do the job.

It’s likely that the final year Directing students of Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University once suffered their own Miss O’Briens.

However, unlike me and my old class, they’ve remained focused on perfecting their craft – and the fruits of their labour will soon be made public.

In collaboration with Edinburgh-based artists, Telford College acting students and The Traverse Young Writers Group, they present Bated Breath – six different plays appearing across three nights.

‘After four hard working years, being given the opportunity to showcase our work is the ultimate highlight of our degrees,’ said Susan Robertson, whose When The Clock Strikes is staged tomorrow night.

‘We’re also looking forward to seeing each others’ performances as, at the moment, they remain a mystery!’

Running until Saturday, these 30-minute snippets express feelings of worry, expectation and disillusionment among young people raised with the dreams of the 1990s.

And they could hardly come at a more suitable venue. As Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Traverse has helped mature the careers of playwrights such as Liz Lochhead, John Byrne and Gregory Burke over the years.

So it seems that this promising new generation is in good hands this week.