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Pyrenees

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Four stars


"If you
don't want to see a man fall," the Proprietor of the out of season Alpine
hotel
says at one point in David Greig's stately meditation on identity, "look
away."

Like the play it belongs to, it's a line that works on many levels. The
fall the Proprietor refers to stems from the army of intrepid would-be explorers
braving the rocks, but it also refers to the plight of the unnamed middle-aged
Man found unconscious in the snow but unable to remember anything of himself or
how he got there. A young woman, Anna, is dispatched from the British Consulate
to find out who the man is, only to fall for his world-weary charm. When another
woman, Vivienne, arrives at the hotel, a whole new world opens up about who
exactly the Man might be.

There is laughter and forgetting aplenty in John
Durnin's urbane revival  of Greig's 2005 play, which, in the courtyard of
Frances Collier's design, is rendered as a piece of broodingly ice-cool European
art-house that delves deep into the psycho-sexual drives of a suburban mid-life
crisis.

In this respect, Dougal Lee's Man resembles a more debonair Reginald
Perrin, desperate for excitement and adventure beyond his humdrum world, but
unable to cut the ties that bind once he realises they're still in place. Isla
Carter's forever in motion Anna similarly seems none too sure about her own
self-image. With only Basienka Blake's Vivienne in any way sure of herself as
the accent of Mark Elstob's Proprietor flits between nations, reinvention
without borders is clearly left wanting in a forensically intelligent dissection
of the mountains we have to climb before finding ourselves anew.

The Herald, September 15th 2015




Ends

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