Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Days of Wine and Roses" - October 2011

At a time when the role of alcohol in Scottish society is under increased scrutiny, the Tron & Theatre Jezebel deliver a devastating reminder of its impact on an individual level. So much so, that I wouldn't be surprised if the Tron notice a dip in post-show takings at the bar - on schoolnights at least.

The typical 'stage drunk' played for comic effect is almost totally absent in director Kenny Miller's production of Owen McCafferty's version of JP Miller's original play - we witness far more of the 'morning afters' than the 'night befores'. With a two hour runtime this could easily become heavy going for the audience. But the initial charm of the young Belfast couple goes a long way and Keith Fleming and Sally Reid's performances are compelling as Donal and Mona's lives fall apart.

Kenny Miller's direction effectively evokes time and location, but the pacing may have benefited from moving the interval back a scene or two. On paper, it would be tempting to dismiss the play's recurring use of racing great 'Arkle' as a timeline for the couple's relationship as faintly ridiculous, but Fleming's delivery exudes so much love and belief in the horse that it adds greatly to his connection with the audience.

I can't pretend that this is a fun night out, but it is unquestionably serious theatre of the highest quality.

We received our tickets for the show through our membership of the Tron's Patrons scheme which we thoroughly recommend for anyone who is a regular attendee at the Tron.

We'd also like to mention how impressed we were with the way the Tron front of house staff dealt promptly, professionally and sensitively with a medical emergency in the audience shortly before the start of the show.

Days of Wine and Roses runs at the Tron until 29th October
Image by John Johnston used with permission