Friday, 25 July 2014

Passing Places

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars
The giant map of Scotland tilted centre-stage above the audience at the
start of Richard Baron's timely revival of Stephen Greenhorn's road
movie for the stage not only shows off some of the country's
lesser-travelled pastures as the play travels from Motherwell to
Thurso. It also puts a roof on an entire world, with designer Adrian
Rees' wooden construction below doubling up as sports shop, Traveller
camp, ceilidh hall and ferry.

In and out of this weave Alex and Brian, a pair of small-town boys who
go on the run and on the road with a surfboard beloved by Alex's
psychopathic boss, Binks. With Alex as overheated as the Lada that
belongs to Brian's brother, and Brian trying to get beyond the
guide-book clich├ęs, the pair hook up with assorted free-spirits who
take them out of their comfort zone en route to somewhere else, all the
while with Binks in hot pursuit. The end result is one of the most
significant pieces of post-modern populism and end of the century
enlightenment to have roared out of our own back yard.

Baron navigates his cast lovingly throughout, with Derek McGhie as Alex
and Keith McLeish as Brian capturing their characters full Yin and Yang
mix of frustration, fear and born-again yearning. Romana Abercromby's
Mirren is  the female foil to their Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty,
bridging both in a play as steeped in pop culture as it is full of big,
philosophical meditations on identity and a quest for something real.
Only Alan Steele's Binks clings to the imaginary in a poignant and
irresistibly funny look at what can happen when you run away from home.

The Herald, July 25th 2014


ends

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