City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Some Other Stars, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 15 March 2016

Kirsten Murray in Some Other Stars
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
A Play, a Pie and a Pint, Oran Mor
Clare Duffy (writer), Nicholas Bone (director), Jonathan Scott (designer), Andy Cowan (sound designer), Ross Kirkland (lighting designer)
Kirsten Murray (Cath), Martin McCormick (Ian)
Running time: 

‘Some Other Stars’ opens in darkness but shimmers throughout in its own special light; Cath (Kirsten Murray) and Ian (Martin McCormick) are two quite ordinary characters to whom the almost unthinkable happens. Ian suffers a stroke, and we discover him ‘waking’ to the realisation that something has gone terribly wrong.

How wrong is the territory these two characters explore in the hour available, moving from dazed acceptance of a reality neither can fully comprehend through Kirsty’s relentless search for signs of the man she loves in the body she sees and Ian’s painfully gradual ‘rehabilitation’ to the huge questions that arise from his apparent choice to take part in a dangerous experiment that he may not survive in any form.

Time and what it does to us is as integral a question posed by ‘Some Other Stars’ as the more looming ones of how much ‘choice’ someone in a massively disabled state may have, the exercise of that limited degree of freedom and the impact even their continued survival may have on those they love and love them.

Jonathan Scott’s spare setting and Ross Kirkland’s economical lighting give Clare Duffy’s script as interpreted by Kirsten Murray and Martin McCormick all it needs to shine in the space that is Traverse Two.

The ambition of Duffy’s text is impressive and the questions it raises represent a particular take on the large ones we all ask ourselves (or ought to) from time to time. Indeed, if one is Buddhist, or in the least thoughtful, they become an ever-present presence, walking beside our triumphal chariots and reminding us we are mortal.

Temporality and its effects on us all is one of several strands in Duffy’s remarkable script, one to which she returns in a variety of guises. For all the inimitable variety that is ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’, it is rare to encounter a play that so purposefully challenges audiences and leaves them with the sorts of questions that can only lead to further ones. ‘Some Other Stars’ is one such play.

Runs til 19 March