City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Passing Places


By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 30 July 2007

4
Show Details
Company: 
Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Production: 
Stephen Greenhorn (playwright), Ken Alexander (director), Charles Cusick Smith (set & costume designer), Ace McCarron (lighting designer)
Performers: 
Callum O’Neill (Alex) , Steven Rae (Brian) Martyn James (Binks) Carol Ann Crawford (Alex's mum) Joanne Cummins (Mirren) Greg Powrie (Diesel) Elizabeth Nestor (Iona) Crawford Logan (Tom)
Running time: 
135mins

Passing Places is a contemporary Scottish comedy, described in the Festival
programme as 'a road movie for the stage' and it is exactly that.
Sit back for a dramatic, roller coaster, ride around Scotland following the
scenic route up the west coast to the Highlands and north coast as far
as you can drive. It’s a clever choice of play for Pitlochry located in
rural Perthshire and from where many visitors to Scotland may be
motoring northwards along narrow single track roads with passing
places.

In similar character-style to Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in Kerouac’s
“On the Road”, our heroes are Alex and Brian, two young streetwise boys
who are desperate to leave their mundane lives and dead end jobs in
Motherwell. The opening set depicts the grey urban landscape of
pavements, graffiti walls and cheap kebab stalls. Alex works in a
sports shop run by Binks, a low key gangster, selling trainers,
baseball hats and for some reason a surfboard as if Motherwell were
“the Bondi beach of Lanarkshire.” In trouble with Binks,
Alex is sacked without pay. In revenge he and Brian steal the surfboard
and decides to drive north in a “borrowed” Lada, to sell the board to a
surfer in Thurso.

The journey takes us to dozens of locations, from Inverary to Skye, Mallaig
to Ullapool via pubs, campsites and seashore in brilliant quick
changing scenes as the long winding road is brilliantly depicted both
on stage and a filmic backdrop. On the way they meet two beautiful
girls, strange characters and hippy travellers leading to some late
night whisky fuelled, philosophical discussions and romantic
encounters.

Callum O’Neill and Steven Rae capture the madcap youthfulness of best mates Alex and Brian, with a subtle boyish naivety. The entire ensemble is simply superb, with
several classy cameo roles such as Carol Ann Crawford as Alex’s Mum. Turning Binks into a pantomime baddy, veteran Pitlochry star Martyn James is wickedly wonderful, so nasty and evil I wanted to boo!. The road to Thurso and back is a journey of discovery and rite of passage for the boys. Between the hilarious, laugh a minute one liners, pin sharp wit and banter, there’s a serious undertone which turns a light hearted farce into a moving, thought-provoking wee drama.

Passing Places continues in repertoire on different dates and times at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
© Vivien Devlin 21 July, 2007 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
until October 2007.

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