City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Persians (A Play a Pie and a Pint), Traverse Theatre, Review

By Erin Roche - Posted on 01 May 2018

The Persians
Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Traverse Theatre Company
Meghan Tyler (writer), Paul Brotherston (director), Andy Cowan (sound design), Ross Kirkland/Chris Reilly (lighting design), Jonathan Scott/ Gemma Patchett (designers), Cairan McLaggan (assistant director), Kevin McCallum (head of production), Gary Staerck (head of stage), Renny Robertson (chief electrician), Claire Elliot (deputy electrician), Tom Saunders (lighting & sound technician)
Irene Allan (Kirstin Thompson), Liam Brennan (Ian Wellesley), Meghan Tyler (Mary Rodgers)
Running time: 

A Scot, an Englishman, and a Northern Irish woman walk into a bar…

Whoops wrong joke: a Scottish Nationalist, a Conservative, and a Democratic Unionist meet to discuss an online petition to bring back the death penalty to the UK, and, boy, is the meeting eventful. What started with a heated discussion turns into a debaucherous night of drinking and dancing...what better way to discuss policy, right? Well, as it happens, this is exactly the meaning for the title The Persians . According to this play’s author Meghan Tyler (who also plays the DUP spokeswoman), the Persian government would get off their trolley with the booze when discussing political decisions: they would all have to agree when they were sloshed and they would all have to agree the next day mid-hangover.

Although the debate is first met with tea and biscuits, it is port and brandy that uncover the real, darker opinions of the three, along with the ensuing laugh-out-loud comedy. What Meghan Tyler has managed to do with The Persians is satirise on many levels: the frivolous attitude with which many politicians decide (or not decide) to govern their countries, the British drinking culture, and the era of social media. Ultimately, one thought rings clear: you can present a polite tea-and-biscuits front, but, underneath it all, many of the leaders of our modern world still act in primitive and shocking ways, not out of keeping with port-fueled barbarism in this piece that mimics the Persian rule. Because, hey, if a television personality can make it to the top despite sexual assault, mocking the disabled, and sympathising with Nazis, maybe barbarism and shock value is unfortunately #trending.

Tyler’s piece is an equal-opportunity zinger, throwing darts at every party no matter the political persuasion; it doesn’t solve the death penalty issue or pretend to have a bias, but it does spark discussion. It’s the sort of play where you might hear the room divide by into who’s laughing and who’s offended, but it never lies. What is brilliant about this piece is it personifies the different countries’ political leanings and brings them all into one room, and, in true Scottish form, they’re all brought closer together with a drink (and with a damning video drunkenly captured and uploaded to the web, their inebriated rants detailing the collective British hit list. Spoiler: Ed Sheeran isn’t safe.)

The fifth and final play of this season of A Play a Pie and a Pint at the Traverse theatre, The Persians is witty, topical, and, despite the heavy subject matter, hilarious. Watch Meghan Tyler, she’s bound to have more up her sleeve.