City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Capital Converse, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 14 November 2015

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Trig Point Theatre
Mikey Burnett (writer), Iain Davie (director), Ross Somerville (music)
James Garvock (Malky), Daniel Campbell (Frank)

It wasn’t quite ‘Hurricane Bawbag’ howling outside the Traverse Theatre on the evening its Hothouse season of new writing presented Mikey Burnett’s ‘Capital Converse’, but ‘Abigail’ seemed too sedate a name for the contumacious weather.

Fortunately Daniel Campbell (Frank) and James Garvock (Malky) welcomed us into the comparative warmth of their bathroom. Yes, I know, it seems a strange place to set a play. That’s rather what this reviewer thought, as well as speculating whether arts sponsorship had become a bit too enamoured of product placement.

Taking our seats in Traverse Two, the audience found itself staring at three familiar items of bathroom furniture in what a salesperson might describe as ‘burgundy’ red. They all get used in this story of Frank and Malky and the latter’s various sad predicaments. Whether they really needed to be is another question.

Set somewhere ‘doon the (Leith) Walk’, Burnett’s very accurate ear for contemporary urban Scots adds to his one for quick-fire comic dialogue. There are one or two slight mis-steps, but his characters keep us thoroughly entertained for the best part of an hour, despite the ultimate thinness of the story line.

Essentially, the luckless Malky finally discovers the young lady he has been pursuing (harassing might be a more appropriate term) has fallen instead for his best friend and flatmate Frank. It’s the stuff of plots from the Arabian Nights and Boccaccio onward, and though Burnett’s dialogue bowls along at a fair lick, Malky’s brief moment of rebellious revenge fails as a decisive dénouement.

That said, Burnett can write, and one hopes he’ll be given opportunities to exercise his not inconsiderable talent to better and fuller advantage.

Campbell and Garvock seem to appreciate the unwritten laws of double acts, sparring and consoling each other by turns, and their timing and delivery is rarely short of pitch perfect in this little number.

Although not quite a comedic gem, ‘Capital Converse’ and its cast nevertheless deserved their opportunity of lighting up the Traverse stage.

13 November