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Being Norwegian

Oran Mor, Glasgow
4 stars

When Sean meets Lisa, worlds collide on every level.

Sean lives alone in a high rise flat full of boxes, bare bulbs and a panoramic view of the city’s bright lights, and communicates in that strong-silent-type manner patented by the west of Scotland male.

Lisa, on the other hand, is never backward in coming forward, a trait left over from her Viking ancestors, who knew exactly what it means to live in the dark, and may go some way to explaining their penchant for invading seemingly brighter countries.

Lisa sees something of Knut Hamsun’s novels in Sean’s demeanour, and is tellingly possessed by a hunger to connect with someone who, from one Weegie to another, just might be exactly like her.

In this first of four lunchtime collaborations between A Play, A Pie And A Pint and Paines Plough before they transfer to London, David Greig’s beautiful little may-be love story begins full of awkward comic charm before opening out onto a world infinitely more fragile.

Like an early Roger McGough poem, Greig pares down all his familiar themes of emotional displacement and urban ennui into a near perfect miniature tale of ordinary madness nuanced with delicate slivers of light and shade.

Director Roxana Silbert’s casting of Stewart Porter and Meg Fraser is equally inspired.

Porter’s display of outwardly tough vulnerability as Sean is offset by an increasingly fabulous Fraser, who flits magnificently from manic to maudlin in a phrase where laughing might just turn to crying any minute.

If happy endings ever happen, Greig suggests, the less scared of the dark you are, the more light you’re likely to find.

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The Herald, October 24th 2007

ends

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