City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Walking on Walls, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 18 October 2016

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
A Play, a Pie and a Pint, Oran Mor with Traverse Theatre
Morna Pearson (writer), Rosie Kellagher (director), Johnathan Scott (designer), Andy Cowan (sound designer), Ross Kirkland/Chris Reilly (lighting design)
Andy Clark (Fraser), Helen MacKay (Claire)
Running time: 

Claire (Helen MacKay) has Fraser (Alan Clark) the way she wants him at last – bound and gagged and (metaphorically at least) on his knees.

‘Walking on Walls’ is no exploration of sado-masochism, however – or is it?

Claire, a number-crunching office worker tries to be a good citizen in her spare time; the sort of person who notes down dog fouling, littering and all the petty infringements of societal norms which so clearly annoy her.

One might flippantly diagnose her as somewhat aspergic, or suffering from obsessive-compulsive behaviour, only hers has a dark turn to it. Vide the aforementioned Fraser.

‘Walking on Walls’ is a play of considerable ambition, touching as it does on issues of control and consent, societal expectation and punishment, individual freedom and communal security. If there’s an issue with all this, it is that at times the brush feels too broad and the focus diffused.

Claire has – by chance or design is never quite clear – spotted Fraser failing to pick up his dog’s litter, and has rendered him unconscious with a handy brick and tied him in the position we find him at the opening of the play. Quite to what purpose remains almost as unclear to us as it is to Fraser.

At times the arguments over past transgressions and moral stances feels a little like near-to-closing-time philosophising centred on recrimination, but Pearson has already shown that her wit and theatrical sense is greater than some of the points ‘Walking on Walls’attempts to make. MacKay and Clark work hard throughout, at times sparking small diamond-sharp moments between them, never losing the energy that bowls the play to its question mark of an ending.

Pearson is clearly a writer of both talent and courage, if the dialogue and themes of‘Walking on Walls’ is any guide, and this makes one more than keen to see what she may be able to present us with, given greater time and space than can be allowed to an offering in the ‘Play, Pie and a Pint’ format.

Tue 18 – Sat 22 Oct, 1pm; Fri 21 Oct, 1pm & 7pm