The Bothy

Lambs to the Slaughter Productions

Greenside @ Nicolson Square

From 21 August 2017 to 26 August 2017

Rating: *

Review by Graeme Strachan

The Bothy is a shambles of a structure pebbledashed with good intentions.

On paper, it sounds like a really good idea for a play. A remote location, a surprise accidental meeting of three men from different societal classes, each tangentially connected by events.

One is a rich, upper-class Etonian, obsessed with wealth, profit and status, the next to arrive a Marx-reading middle-class ex-officer. The third man to appear is a local Scottish farmer, shellshocked by his experiences at Gallipoli and in the trenches; then finally a priest appears to link up the stories and bring about the tragic conclusion.

The problem comes in that all four characters are played by a single actor, who literally wears a different hat for each of the men and paces about the stage enacting each in their monologuing. Unfortunately, there aren't enough physical distinctions between the acting of most of them, although at least for the last two there are distinctly different accents.

The main trouble comes with the decision to conduct each part gesticulating while pacing back and forth across the stage, inserting sighs, "umm"s and "God!" several times each sentence.

The tone is also all over the place, with the upper-class toff and the priest being played for laughs, while the farmer is clearly supposed to be sympathetic and could have been had the material been worked out better. But the performance needs to be improved, the hurried costume changes rethought, and the general physicality of the characters ought to be better distinguished.

The play should really be looked at as a work in progress and, considering the ridiculously low ticket price, it's at least inoffensive.