City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Leviathan, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Lindsay Corr - Posted on 19 March 2015

Leviathan_Photo by Lesley Black
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Travese Theatre, Sherman Cymru
Rachel O’Riordan (Director), Matthew Trevannion (writer)
Claire Cage (Karen, Siw Hughes (Mavis), Gwawr Loader (Hannah)
Running time: 

The new season of A Play, A Pie and A Pint at The Traverse has opened with Matthew Trevannion’s Leviathan in collaboration with Sherman Cymru, bringing lunchtime theatre back with a brutally honest portrayal of the fragility of the human condition.

Three generations of women from a Welsh family sit in their council house back garden. Mavis (Siw Hughes), the matriarch is trying to hold things together between her catatonic daughter Karen (Claire Cage) – slumped into a black pit of depression following an incident at her work as a psychiatric nurse – and granddaughter Hannah (Gwawr Loader) who’s stop outs with older men and a desperation that hints at crying wolf suggests this fiery twenty-something may be even more damaged than her two female role models.

Anxiety, pregnancy, motherhood, marriage, class and nature versus nurture are all touched on in Trevannion’s sharply biting text that veers from poetic internal monologues, as Karen’s psyche is gradually revealed, to sharp comedic observations between a bickering Karen and Hannah, juxtaposing a family’s struggle to cope with mental illness while simultaneously trying to persist with problems of their own, as the impassive Karen becomes a pawn in their battles as well as a focal point for their anxieties.

This piece is not the easiest to watch, with misery emanating from all corners of the space in a stark portrayal of a trio of self-imposed isolations. Cage’s quiet distress can be a pull from the action with silent tears falling as your heart breaks at her complete detachment, as Hannah’s fear for the future causes her to lash out in anger, while Mavis’ positivity dissipates with each swig of special brew.

At times the production feels slightly clunky with transitions that are awkward but the energy projected stings with unexpected power through three faultless performers in this brave production that presents both a heartfelt yet callous fragment of life that echoes the past and hope for the potential future.

Until Saturday 21 March 2015

Lunchtimes daily: 1pm; evening performance Friday: 7pm.

For the full Play, Pie and a Pint line-up visit