Still by Frances Poet makes its world premiere courtesy of The Traverse Theatre Company at their theatre. It’s directed by Gareth Nicholls and will later be available to stream on-demand.
intriguing, even if it might sound somewhat morbid
The lives of six Edinburgh characters are dominated by pain that is either physical, mental or both. Suffering, in one way or another, pervades the play and provides a fascinating insight into some of the forms it can take and the ways in which people handle it. Mick (Gerry Mulgrew) might add elements of humour and be entertaining, but his homeless life is controlled by drink that gives him memory loss, causes him to stagger around the streets and to find himself waking up in unlikely places. In stark contrast Gaynor (Molly Innes) is housebound with her illness, cantankerous and bitter, as witnessed in her exchanges with Dougie (Martin Donaghy), her son, and his partner Ciara (Mercy Ojelade), a young vet, who is pregnant and has enough to deal with without the vicious rhetoric of Gaynor. Dougie, meanwhile, is in the middle, trying to appease his mother and empathise with what Ciara is going through. The young Gilly (Naomi Stirrat) meets Ciara when she takes her sick dog to be seen and receives the fatal diagnosis that, in an interesting parallel, matches that of her father.
Live sounds and music from Oguz Kaplangi underscore the text and provide interludes between the scenes that capture both the location and themes of the play. Lighting design by Colin Grenfell along with Karen Tennent’s set provide an almost surrealist canvas when the items are left in place, but there is a lot of moving to be done to accommodate the scenes.
It’s all intriguing, even if it might sound somewhat morbid, providing material for reflection and the opportunity to consider life as experienced by others and perhaps be grateful. Solid performances from this diverse cast encourage this approach to the work.