Neil Gunn's great Scottish novel, adapted by Peter Arnott, is a rites of passage story of the boy, Finn and his mother, Catrine, who has been left to bring him up. It also takes on the bigger theme of a community driven by economic necessity and the tragic injustice of the Highland clearances to earn a living from an inhospitable, harsh sea. There is heart-breaking and familiar tension as Catrine copes with her boy becoming a man and her fears that he will be taken from her like his father before.
The handsomely staged production, directed by Kenny Ireland, is vibrant and atmospheric. A terrific ensemble cast act as Greek chorus with strong performances from Lesley Hart and Duncan Anderson, as mother and son.
The truncation of the epic tale sometimes results in a less than subtle approach to character development. However, The Silver Darlings is good, popular and old-fashioned (meant as a compliment) storytelling done very well.