The Garden

Zinnie Harris, music by John Harris

sound

Traverse Theatre

From 18 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

The Garden may possibly herald the advent of a new genre. The best way to characterise it is as a post-eco-apolcalyptic, semi-chamber-opera.

If that is too much of a mouthful or the world is running short of dashes, then it is a simple two-hander about an unhappy couple, set in their grungy kitchen just around the corner from the main Traverse building.

Alan McHugh's Mac is a scientist who seems to have lost his place on a final project. Pauline Knowles plays his wife Jane, a woman with a history of depression.

The catalyst for drama and conflict in a tense piece that lasts only 40 minutes is a bump in the tatty lino.

While we may not be that excited by a weed/plant threatening to emerge in the kitchen, in an age when greenery is only a historical footnote, it is a cause for fear or hope, depending on your mentality.

Mac destroys the incomer and it is soon forgotten. When a larger version reappears and suggests that the world may be blessed with a post-Edenic apple tree, a decision is required and this falls to Jane.

From there, the play asks us to consider what life might be like in a world blighted by ecological disaster.

The actors give solid performances and drift pleasingly into song to John Harris's modern score.

Ultimately, The Garden asks questions without answering enough of them so that it has something of the feel of a work in progress.