JOYCE MCMILLAN on WE CAN ALL AGREE TO PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 14.2.15.
3 stars ***
THIS WEEK, A Play, A Pie And A Pint at Oran Mor celebrates its 350th new play in ten years; a record quite probably unsurpassed in the whole history of western theatre. And it’s somehow appropriate that this week’s play should come from one of the international sister-projects A Play, A Pie And A Pint has generated over the years; in this case, from Philadelphia, and from the Tiny Dynamite Company, who host Play, Pie and Pint sessions there.
Pitched somewhere between near-future science fiction and outright farce, Emma Goidel’s brief and bold four-hander is set in a laboratory in Siberia, where an American research team are testing swamp gases for signs of global warming. Lead scentist Liz, played with an almost alarming elemental force by Sally Reid, is not only bored with her bureaucratic boyfriend Andrew – brought to Siberia as her project manager – but impatient with the scientific process in hand; so apart from having illicit sample-cupboard sex with her young colleague Lincoln, she has also persuaded mousy assistant Maya to help with some unsubtle massaging of the research findings.
Goidel’s play is so short, at a bare 40 minutes, that it seems more like stray scene from a possible drama, than the drama itself. Yet Joe Douglas’s terrific four-strong cast – also featuring James Young, Helen McAlpine, and a brilliant Robbie Jack as neurotic Andrew – visibly revel in the sheer absurdist energy of the script; the only question is whether these four characters have somewhere to go, in dramatic terms, or are caught forever in the freeze-frame of this vivid and ridiculous fragment.