Dundee Rep 4 stars When Tom McGrath's play first appeared in 1986, its depiction of community spirit in a run-down Dundee housing scheme was a telling insight into life on the margins in Thatcher's Britain. A quarter of a century on, and Nicholas Bone's revival of a story based on real Dundee residents reflects the current and all too necessary wave of grassroots protest that has risen up in the face of mass political ineptitude. At the heart of the play is Kora Lee, the eternally optimistic single mum to five boys, who becomes a symbol of survival even as her world is collapsing around her. When an architecture student turns up to ask Kora and her neighbours questions about their living conditions, an accidental campaign is launched to try and improve the neighbourhood. If this sounds like a sentimental polemic, think again. Far from leading the campaign, Kora's main pre-occupation is attempting to sire an even bigger brood, either with community policeman Bob or else the nearest test tube donor, all done on her own terms. Played in the round inside Becky Minto's wonderful living room pod that encloses both cast and audience with a display of disembodied furniture, Bone's production is a multi-faceted affair pulsed by a gloriously matter of fact earthiness. Much of this is led by Emily Winter, who plays Welsh emigre Kora as a lusty back-street earth mother who lives in the moment whatever. In some ways, Kora's acts of everyday self-determination and a desire to procreate are bigger than the ultimately doomed campaign depicted. The coming together of community too is crucial. For Kora, life doesn't simply go on. It's the creating it that counts.
The Herald, May 27th 2013 ends