JOYCE MCMILLAN on LIFESAVING at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 7.3.15.

4 stars ****

THERE’S SOMETHING bracingly weird and surreal about Rob Drummond’s Lifesaving, the latest lunchtime show from A Play, A Pie And A Pint.  Echoing previous powerful plays about strangely co-dependent teen relationships, from Pitchfork Disney to Disco Pigs, the play follows brother and sister Sandra and Jamie into the hideaway where they have fled after Jamie – who has unspecified learning difficulties – apparently killed a neighbour’s dog.

The pair are dependent for supplies – mainly of cheap cider – on Sandra’s fantasy-boyfriend Andy.  In fact, though, it’s Andy’s sinister big brother Brian who arrives with the goodies, deflowers the sexually obsessed Sandra, and entertains them with a video of Jaws, a movie whose dialogue soundtrack features throughout the play, in strange disjointed snatches.

Meanwhile, Jamie pursues his affectionate relationship with his  pet lifesaving dummy, reading up about human survival under extreme conditions.  The play hints in no uncertain terms at the threats to survival faced by Sandra and Jamie, with their alcoholic mother, and their utter vulnerability to the sub-pornographic culture around them;  Daniel Cameron is superbly  still and inward-looking as Jamie, Ross Mann persuasively sleazy as the shark that enters their waters.

For most of its length, though, the play is sustained by the rough street poetry of  Lynn Kennedy’s brilliant monologue as Sandra, full of a poignant would-be smart bravado, driven by love for her brother; but in the end – in a sad echo of this week’s news –  so desperately needy that she has no defences against the cruel  sexual exploitation that waits around every corner, jaws open, ready for the unloved and the vulnerable to swim willingly into its darkness.

Oran Mor, Glasgow, final performance today.



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