City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: Poem in October (A Play, A Pie and A Pint)

By Irene Brown - Posted on 31 March 2009

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Traverse Theatre and Òran Mór
Robert Forrest (scriptwriter), Finlay Welsh (idea for the play), Gavin Harding (Production Manager ), Douglas Irvine (Director), Claire Elliott, Renny Robertson, Sarah Scarlett, Mark Sodergren, Andrew Steel (Production (Traverse) ), Patrick and Rita McGurn (design), Susannah Armitage (Trainee Producer Òran Mór), David MacLennan (Producer Òran Mór)
Finlay Welsh (Walt/Dylan)
Running time: 

David Walters was a man who had everything. He was belovèd by his mother, had brains and looks and got the girl, Bella of Belle Isle.

We meet him seated on a park bench surrounded by dead leaves and with the sound of birdsong in the background at what turns out to be the end of his life.

The character's monologue of poetic recitation and reflection, punctuated throughout with him popping pills and washing them down with ‘a drop of gold' from his hip flask, becomes a dialogue with what he believes to be the ghost of Dylan Thomas.

Walt, as he came to be known, was a Maths teacher with a love of words, not just the sound of them, but the very shape of them. Now blind, widowed and an alcoholic, he describes his loss of sight as "absence not darkness."

Maybe that's why his psyche has created what he describes as a very material ghost; one he can hear, sense and smell and describes as a "boozy phantom" with whom he is sharing a nightmare?

It is an adult version of the child's imaginary friend who gets blamed for all the naughty things the child does. In Walt's case, it gets as bad as nearly setting the kitchen on fire while making a big fry up. This poetic alter ego turns out to be a guardian angel who oversees Walt's "good death" as he "meets" again his own belovèd Bella's "hazel of a gaze".

Finlay Welsh is an actor of wide experience and this was a moving an accomplished performance from him.