JOYCE MCMILLAN on THE QUEEN OF LUCKY PEOPLE for The Scotsman 28.4.14.
3 stars ***
IN HER FLAT in Glasgow, Patrice French sits huddled over her laptop, gazing at the screen like a woman infatuated. Patrice is not young; she has recently taken early retirement from her job as a college lecturer, and is something of a “silver surfer”. In the world of a social network called Lucky People, though, she has found a whole new life of interest and meaning; she dismisses her friend Helen’s real-life gossip as “limited conversation”, and gets back to the business of devising status updates that will boost her daily total of “lol” and “awesome” responses.
All of which would be interesting and entertaining enough, as Iain Heggie’s latest Play, Pie and Pint luchtime drama explores the 21st century badlands between real and virtual experience. In this pleasingly surreal monologue, though, things soon become much darker, as we begin to glimpse the complex and downright alarming reasons why Patrice might have come to prefer Lucky People to everyday reality.
In Glasgow last Monday, Eileen Nicholas’s immensely witty performance as Patrice was just beginning to find its feet, and to do full justice to the shape of Heggie’s drama. This week at the Traverse, though, the play should emerge as a real miniature masterpiece; one of the first to observe that if today’s under-30’s are the online generation, then today’s over-60’s are the first cohort of pensioners with the option of using the internet as a field of dreams, in which the failures and regrets of a long life lived in an imperfect world can be hidden or forgotten, for days at a time.