The Traverse is to be congratulated for
giving Edinburgh audiences a chance to view the series of short plays
presented in the innovative Oran Mor, A Play, A Pie and A Pint series.
The atmosphere isn't quite the same at The Traverse – the pies have to
be dispatched before you enter the auditorium, which may be just as
well given the subject matter of Gregory Burke's play.
Burke is, of course, the hugely talented
author of the biggest success in recent Scottish theatre, Black
Watch. His new play tackles big themes too, in an
entertaining enough fashion, but without much depth. The play is set in
a high-tech storage facility, where the elderly are kept like battery
hens and if they are not visited by their relatives within a designated
time, which is a rare occurrence, they are shall we say recycled into
the food chain. Perhaps the offspring are just getting there own back
on their relatives for their contribution to the continued decline of
mankind? Then as now, the wealth you have determines the level of
comfort you are 'stored' in though ultimately their fate is the same.
The play takes on the care of the
elderly, the treatment of animals, the ecological mess we are
bequeathing future generations and a few more issues besides, which may
be its undoing given the short length of time (45 minutes) it takes to
cover them. It feels like an extended comedy sketch rather than a play
but is is well performed by Denise Hoey as a idealistic eco-warrior,
Ian Bissett as the jobs-worth functionary and Andy Gray as the
elderly, wealthy oilman, who has a lot to answer for.
The dialogue is smartly amusing, the
direction by David MacLennan is brisk but in the end, unlike the
excellent pie, the play, while amusing and relevant, is ultimately