Theatre review: A Play, A Pie and A Pint: You Cannot Go Forward From Where You Are Right Now

The play fails to realise the potential of its central conceit

The play fails to realise the potential of its central conceit

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The heart sinks at the sight of a fortune cookie title for a 45-minute play. The longer the title, the greater the weight of abstract, thought-provoking meaning an earnest young playwright is trying to convey to an audience.

The greatest writers generally lean toward brevity, wit and disarming honesty when naming their works – Much Ado About Nothing and Oscar and Lucinda spring keenly to mind.

So what does this meditative title tell us about the drama that author David Watson wants us to embrace? Well, not a lot, other than that the cast get to say it meaningfully toward the end of the show.

Surrounding this mantra, is a collage of scenes that shift between crackling radio stations asking the audience to contemplate the nature of machinery and how reliant we now are on modern technology even though it isolates us increasingly from direct interaction with one and other.

It is a conversation open to many different levels of interpretation and, as a concept, has a great deal of merit. In delivery, however, the constant switching of roles by the three actors and the last-minute introduction of actor Jack Reid (who took his role the day before the show began) means that the production lacks a maturity of nuance. The cheerful usage of time and place, drawing in references to A Play, A Pie and A Pint in the opening scenes of the production lends a charming, interactive quality to the story and engages the audience well.

The scene-setting banter also reveals a joyous irony – who in their right minds would expose their gleaming modern technology, the centrepiece of this story, to the thunderous downpour outside to which the radio hosts keep referring? While Watson asks us to look at our technology usage, many of us have already spent many enforced hours thinking about the situation while we wait patiently for our phones to dry out after a soaking.

Watson’s title implies a certain amount of static behaviour in our society now that we have embraced a life of communicating in 140 characters rather than face to face.

At least Apple have come to the rescue, we can all now have a chat with interactive “personal assistant” Siri when we feel lonely. That’s forward momentum isn’t it?

Traverse Theatre

Rating: **

• Runs until Saturday