Monday, 2 June 2014

Perfect Days

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars
One of the most remarkable things about Liz Lochhead's 1998 play is
that, apart from a 2011 version in the Czech Republic, it has never
been adapted for film or television. Here, after all, is a funny and
utterly serious look at an independent career woman's mid-life struggle
with life, love and a biological clock that is ticking ever louder,
which arrived onstage just a few short months after Sex and the City
was first aired. Throw in a gay best friend, a well-buffed toy boy and
an ex husband with a girlfriend half his age, and, in the right hands,
it could have made for a fine mini-series at the very least.

As it is, Lochhead's edgy comedy concerning thirty-nine year old
celebrity Glasgow hairdresser Barbs Marshall has become a stage staple
that taps into the contradictions of a free-spirited twenty-first
century woman who seemingly has it all with wit, style and some very
grown-up humour. Liz Carruthers' new production for Pitlochry Festival
Theatre puts Helen Logan centre-stage as Barbs in a version which
appears to have slightly updated some of its pop-cultural reference
points, although to do that fully for the social media generation would
require a brand new play.

It's the dialogue that counts, though, and Lochhead's lines fizz with
gallus life as they're delivered by Logan, with Scott Armstrong as her
best-friend Brendan sharing some of the funniest exchanges. Beyond the
complex emotional life Barbs sets herself up with, it is her mother
Sadie, played by Estrid Barton, who provides the play's heart. As Barbs
navigates her way to some kind of emancipation, what is revealed is a
play about motherhood at every level.

The Herald, June 2nd 2014


ends

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