City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Descent, Traverse, Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 20 October 2015

Descent by Emma Quinn.jpg
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Òran Mór and presented by Traverse Theatre in association with Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival
Linda Duncan McLaughlin (writer), Alie Butler (director), Ross Kirkland (lighting design)
Barrie Hunter (Rob), Fiona MacNeil (Nicola), Wendy Seager (Cathy)
Running time: 

A song about a pair of old lovers, Ah yes, I remember it well , featured in the 1958 film, Gigi. The Lerner lyrics trace the treasured but different memories each has held over the years about their relationship and who’s to say which of them had it right? It’s when a memory goes altogether that problems arise.

The latest A Play, A Pie and A Pint from Linda Duncan McLaughlin is part of this year’s creative ageing festival Luminate and looks at the tragedy of one man’s descent to dementia and its impact on his family full in the face.

In a moving and intense interweaving of the past and future, McLaughlin’s script is brilliantly and sensitively delivered by the three strong cast who represent a small, close knit family. Wendy Seager is the loving and tolerant wife Cathy who, in keeping to her marital promise of ‘in sickness and in health,’ finds herself at the mercy of aggression as she deals with the colossal child that used to be her husband. Her words describing how she is a ‘ghost on his train’ and the importance of ‘grieving for the living’ are laden with poignancy.

The sharp change from the ordered life of Rob (Barrie Hunter) to the muddling loop of simple questions that remain perpetually unanswered in his mind is thrown into relief through the contrast of his love of precision in his architectural drawings, beautifully realised in a Will McLean style backdrop of miniature structures. Thoughts that are normally kept in check are given at times cruel and honest voice from the parents with daughter Nicola (Fiona MacNeil) taking on the calm, detached role of the mediator. The characters deliver the text at times directly, spelling out Rob’s journey from clarity to bewilderment; his morphing from a caring Dad and husband to his developing a Kafkaesque shell of insouciance that results in some shocking lack of inhibition.

This is no sugar coated vision but a set of realistic perspectives from different generations on the disorientating nature of mental lock down that is dementia. An arresting piece of theatre.

Tue 20 – Sat 24 Oct, 1pm / Fri 23 Oct, 1pm & 7pm
Captioned Performance: Wed 21 Oct, 1pm Age Recommendation