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The Drawer Boy

Paisley Arts Centre
Four stars
When self-absorbed actor Miles turns up at an isolated farmhouse in
search of a story, he gets more than he bargained for when he's taken
in by Morgan and Angus who live there.  Both Second World War veterans,
these life-long friends play out their lives in early 1970s Ontario,
working the land as they keep old and uncomfortable memories at bay.
Miles' arrival awakens something in a damaged Angus that can't be
placated anymore by baking bread, counting stars and listening to
Morgan's possibly unreliable tales of how they got to where they are.

Inspired by real-life events that led to The Farm Show, a defining
moment in Canadian theatre,  Michael Healey's 1999 play taps into a
rich seam of dramatic and social history even as it pokes fun at the
try-too-hard earnestness that springs from Miles and his big city ways.
Out of this comes a tender meditation on how stories can enlighten even
the most shattered minds.

Alasdair McCrone's touring revival for Mull Theatre captures the full
heart and soul of Healey's drama with an understated sense of the
play's intimacy. Much of this is down to how the interplay between each
character is realised, something which McCrone's cast rise to with
aplomb. Barrie Hunter's stoic Morgan is offset beautifully by James
Mackenzie's wide-eyed Miles, while McCrone himself plays Angus with a
wounded sensitivity that is loveable without ever falling prey to
cutesiness.

As the show's tour continues with dates in Dundee tonight, Greenock
tomorrow and beyond, McCrone and co have captured the full poignancy of
how sometimes the truth can come out in very mysterious ways.

The Herald, October 28th 2014


ends

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