City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mr Loveday's Little Outing

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 13 August 2008

Show details
Theatrical Theatrics Productions
Running time: 
Patrick Garety (writer, director, producer)
Mary-Clare Dollard (Lady Moping), Hal Forbes Adam (Lord Moping), Patrick Garety (Doctor), William Ramsden (Mr. Loveday), Lallie Fraser (Miss Havesham), Ivan de Klee (Sketchley)

A friend, an intellectual property lawyer,
once speculated what music might play in institutional day-rooms when we became
geriatric: 1970's pop, if this adaptation of Mr. Loveday's Little Outing is
anything to go by.

Evelyn Waugh's Mr. Loveday's Little Outing is, in its
original, a short morality tale of the dangers inherent in letting those who
shouldn't stray from the strait and narrow. An interesting piece now because of
the times in which it was first written, when psychiatry still practised
electro-convulsive "therapy," and locked wards and the strait jacket were the norm. The remarkable "Jock" Fairbairn (brighter sire of the more famous Sir
Nicholas), and Donald Woods Winnicott had barely begun practice, and Anna Freud
(brighter daughter of the more famous Sigmund) had not yet begun her work with
children traumatised by World War Two.

The eponymous Mister Loveday (William
Ramsden) inhabits a mental institution, as such places were then called, caring
for his fellow patients and assisting the doctor in charge. The arrival of Lord
Moping (Hal Forbes-Adam) as a patient creates a change in Loveday's situation,
as Lady Moping (Mary-Clare Dollard) is impressed by his apparent "sanity," which
the other patients recognise and campaign for his release. Their "insanity" is
obvious, but the ending of Loveday's "little outing," it is implied, may have
resulted in far more mayhem than any of them might have been capable of.

Waugh's Roman Catholic sensibility may well have drawn him to create a tale
where the innocent are culpable of having released the guilty, but he is too
honest an artist not to admit the possibility of other readings. "Jock" and
Donald would have had much to say of Mister Loveday, as undoubtedly would the
late R. D. Laing. Although a wee thing rough round the edges on the day seen,
there's some promising acting on show here, and it's to be hoped that at least
some members of the cast may be seen in future Fringes, with stronger material
to work with.

Times: Aug 11-25 at 13.45

Copyright Bill Dunlop August 2008

Published on August 2008