Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
5 stars It's been five years since Morna Pearson's last main-stage play, but this new work more than confirms the promise of one of the freshest, most fearless and taboo-bustingly unique voices to be heard anywhere right now. In its depiction of how behind closed doors inter-familial dysfunctions can squeeze the life out of relationships beyond, Pearson's wild and dangerous demotic also manages to be both scabrously funny and damningly bleak. Geoffrey is a thirty-something art teacher who lives with his mother Edie, and is bullied by the kids at school. When he reads that he's in the top ten sexiest professions, Geoffrey takes a notion to start dating after advice from Lynn Kennedy's former pupil turned supermarket check-out girl, Evelyn. After a couple of false starts, Geoffrey meets Clara, who, as played by Molly Innes, awakens something in him on the dance-floor long suppressed. Geoffrey even takes Clara home to meet Edie, who is in turn being courted by Lewis Howden's keen vegetable grower, Thomas. If this sounds like a pathway to an obvious happy ending, think again, as Pearson's extreme and surreal flights of Doric tabloidese are brought fantastically to life in a series of short, sharp and spectacularly inappropriate exchanges. As Garry Collins' Geoffrey and Anne Lacey's Edie fail to break out of their insular world, it's as if Chris Morris had scripted a Viz comic version of Jeremy Kyle grotesques. Yes, it's that serious, as Pearson taps into a damaged small-town underclass in a fly on the wall drama that reeks of reality TV, but is far, far stranger, and all the more magnificent for it.
The Herald, November 5th 2012 ends