A Traverse and Òran Mór production
A Play, a Pie and a Pint Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
The hoodie meets the suit in this duologue between a middle-aged man and a teenager on a deserted forest path.
It all starts innocently enough with the man 'A' (Stuart Bowman) handing the teenager 'J' (Scott Fletcher) a glove he appears to have dropped, but their conversation soon moves on to darker territory.
At first it seems A is just a lonely man looking for company as he talks to the innocent looking lad J, about laughing at disasters. So far, so 'train journey where some old guy invades your personal space', only the abstract discussion starts to give way to more specific information from both A and J.
The discussion of inappropriate sniggering is fascinating in itself and it paves the way for the rest of the piece, as well as giving away a few clues about the two characters.
Both actors create mysterious morally ambigious characters and with fantastic energy lend them a sense of confidence that can make them at times quite intimidating.
With his expressive youthful features Fletcher's J is certainly cute, but his smile gives the character a more sinister edge. Bowman's A, beneath the jolly rambling, has plenty of aggression that bubbles to the surface.
Traverse Two is set out in a promenade which allows the actors a corridor of forest path and the audience as trees are perfectly positioned to catch every breath and furrowed brow of both actors. Indeed its difficult to choose who to watch when they move apart.
The plot grips with its many twists, each character gradually revealing a little more as the story starts to come together. A's motive for being there, on his box in the forest, keeps changing, as does his relationship with J.
Flitting between genres, at times it appears it may be a ghost story, at others a tale of revenge or perhaps some sort of Chaucerian morality tale.
Strikingly up-to-date, the older man's jokes about what job he'd just been fired from allowed the audience some light relief.
The strength of the piece comes from both the cleverly plotted and eloquent script and the fine, finely-balanced performances.
A duel of the generations that will send chills running down your spine.
'Lucky Box' runs until 11th April 2009
'A Play, a Pie and a Pint' Tuesday to Saturday until 18th April 2009
Reviewer: Seth Ewin