JOYCE MCMILLAN on DAISIES (Fiendish Plot at the CCA, Glasgow) for The Scotsman 3.6.09
3 stars ***
THEATRE IS AN art-form that often tries to be clever, in the sense of inventive, allusive, innovative, challenging; and most of the time, it’s all the better for it. There’s none of that, though, in Lisa Nicoll’s Daisies, this week’s play in the Fiendish Plot 30-minutge lunchtime series at the CCA. Nicoll’s play is a straightforward, heart-on-sleeve double monologue for a young couple who become parents of a much-loved and long-awaited baby daughter, Daisy, only to face the horror of losing her in a sudden cot death; and it’s a huge tribute to the quuality of the performances – from Laura Harvey and Ian Petrie – that the play achieves a real tear-jerking power, without ever sliding into soap-opera sentimentality.
There are moments when it’s difficult to see the point of this hwartbreaking short essay in human pain; and moments too, in Sacha Kyle’s production, when she lets the performance style slip too far, for too long, towards a whispered, introverted small-screen naturalism. But the quality of Nicoll’s writing is striking, simple and emotional without cliche, and with moments of unobtrusive poetry. And as a journey from the self-absorbed bustle of a Sauchiehall Street lunchtime to the heart of the big things that really matters in life, the show makes an indelible mark. “A lifetime in a lunchtime,” said one audience member at the end, as people all around wiped away tears; and reader, he wasn’t far wrong.