A Play, A Pie and A Pint: Watching the Detectives Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Òran Mór in association the Traverse Theatre
Paddy Cunneen (writer and director), Patrick McGurn (designer), Kirstin Hogg (assistant designer), Andy Dempsey (stage manager), Sarah MacFarlane (assistant producer), Susannah Armitage (associate producer), David MacLennan (producer), Andrew Cowan, Gary Wilson, Ross Kirkland, Niall McMenimen(technicians)

Stuart Bowman
Running time

This is the last play in the 5-week Autumn season of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, the now 7 year old institution supported by the National Theatre of Scotland that showcases world premiere plays.

The play opens with what turns out to be a crime scene under an orange street lamp. The atmosphere is augmented with background music adding suspense and menace. We learn some things (I hesitate to use the word ‘facts’) about the female victim that tips into some cringe-worthy misogynistic language. 

We are faced with a lone detective (Stuart Bowman) who, strangely, carries out forensics while taking calls on his hands-free and looping in the audience with questions and hazard tape. He delivers his 4-point philosophy over the play covering concepts of what is real and what is not. You know that idea that everything you need to know about a work of art is in the text itself? Well, I’ll say no more than that.

It is a brave thing to involve the public in a set piece and Stuart Bowman managed the variety of responses admirably but I think there should have been a warning to the audience that participation was on the cards. Not everyone is comfortable with it and there were a few heads in hands during this surreal and at times gruesome and uncomfortable piece. The accompanying sound effects and their synchronised timing were effective and brilliant.

Most of the audience will be familiar with the reality of death, loss and the general potential harshness of life. They will be aware of the concept of momento mori that we are, as the detective reminded us, ‘little souls carrying our own corpses’ (Epictetus). They may not all have seen a corpse but have seen enough episodes of Spiral or read enough crime novels to know that death is not pretty. Maybe a lunchtime slot, after a pie and a pint was not the best time.

All Tickets are £12 and include a play, a pie and a drink from the Traverse Theatre bar café. 

Show times

Tues 8 – Sat 12 Nov (1pm)