A Play, a Pie and a Pint
The Jam House, Edinburgh
Although last week's Saturday performance from the National Theatre of Scotland was cancelled due to an actor's ill health, the crowd for Drawing Bored, the second play to transfer through from Glasgow, was attentive and good-sized.
Anyone who has attended the original Oran Mor venue in Glasgow will notice immediately that the Jam House offers a much larger space - it will be interesting to see how pieces developed and rehearsed for Oran Mor transfer to the cavernous dance hall (which, incidentally, offers a terrific Saturday night cover band and dance floor experience for a wide range of ages).
In the case of Drawing Bored, however, the space is done a disservice. If Daniel Jackson's script contains subtle shifts of tension and power, Liz Lochhead's direction coupled with Stewart Porter's shouting performance as Max and Grant Smeaton's one-note attack of 'blah' as Ted, fail to uncover them. This is, however, a big 'if,' as Jackson's script seemed to be an argument about Ted accusing Max of stealing a comic character and Max maintaining that no theft has taken place. Neither character grew or changed noticeably over the course of the piece, and no greater point seemed to be served by this lack of change. The concept may have been enough for a five-minute play, but not an hour-long drama.
Even the reveal of Max's true motives didn't seem to have a significant impact on the characters or their lives, and there seemed to be very little reason for the late arrival of Laura (Lisa Gardner) other than providing an object of desire for Max and a last-minute kick in the arse (which failed to convince either me or the friend who came along) for Ted.
On the plus side, the comic outfits for two of Ted's characters, designed by Lauren Brown, were definitely the highlight of the production. The pies were as tasty as I remembered from the Glasgow productions I attended last year, and one thing I have decided after virtuously deciding to go for the diet coke option over the pint and then sitting through Drawing Bored was that perhaps in the future, it would make sense not to be quite so straight-laced. This a play I can definitely imagine would be improved after having a drink.
Reviewer: Rachel Lynn Brody