A hidden gem of the fringe, this authentically Scottish play has fantastically realist, understated acting throughout, and it offers an emotional portrayal of the familial tensions that lie just under the surface.
A dramatic insight into Highland life that will capture your heart
The males across three generations of this dysfunctional local family gather for Hogmanay celebrations, individually and collectively navigating issues of divorce, alcoholism, failure and rejection, albeit with charm and good humour. The deftness with which each topic is handled demonstrates the breadth of this hearty and emotional piece. Best friends Jonny and Fisher, played excellently by George Carson and Glen Alexander respectively, reminisce about their halycon days as a musician and roadie when they toured across the Highlands “for petrol and a pint”. Meanwhile, after a few drams at midnight, unconfident father John takes the opportunity to channel blame towards his own father for his shortcomings as a parent. The back and forth between them all is heart-warming and hilarious in equal measure, balanced perfectly with the tensions that simmers under the banter. Equal credit is also to be given to the performance by Fiona Janzen, as Jack, who perfectly delivers the blunt and awkward questions that only a grandson can ask, when coming to stay with his grandfather for the first time.
The original songs and poems scattered throughout add pathos, and the exploration of Gaelic words that takes place in these pieces and in the dialogue is absorbing. There is no sense, however, of any particular message being pursued at the expense of the theatrical effect of this realistic portrayal, and the themes ensure that this play is acutely relevant to all, regardless of nationality. The set design is a perfect complement to the script, as a convincing set up of a slacking Scottish retired musician’s living room, complete with scattered Tunnock’s teacakes, spare branches for Jonny’s whittling and mess everywhere. The Recovery Version is a dramatic insight into Highland life that will capture your heart.