JOYCE MCMILLAN on SKELETON WUMMAN at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman, 21.4.14.
3 stars ***
ON THE SEA BED lies the skeleton of a woman, long drowned, when her village was swept away by a tsunami. She is dead, all right; but she is still there, she speaks, and she tells us her tale. It’s a strange, visionary story of a young woman whose life on earth was darkened by her own severe disability, and by the death in a drowning accident of her perfect twin sister; but who, in this new world beyond death and global flood, gradually rediscovers herself, and eventually – miraculously – experiences a kind of rebirth.
In this new and longer version of the play, the story is told by the fine young actress Amy Conachan, whose own disability gives her a profound insight into that aspect of the story, notably in the pre-flood scenes on the sofa with her father, well conjured up by Buchan Lennon. In the end, though, there’s a mystical and deeply poetic aspect of this tale – captured in Seylan Baxter’s gorgeous live fiddle music – that seems just beyond Amy Conachan’s reach; and that leaves the text’s shifts between rough contemporary Scots and soaring poetic fantasy looking slightly more disjointed than they should, in what remains a wild and fascinating piece of stage poetry.