REVIEW – Soup (A Play, A Pie, And A Pint), Traverse Theatre

*****

Soup isn’t the only thing on the boil in this middle class suburban home. Dan has unexpectedly returned to his parents’ house from university, seeking their advice – and their blessing.

Sadly, his mother is in a constant rush with no time to listen; and whilst Dan is ready to face up to the challenges of adult life, his father is finding it increasingly hard to deal with his own.

Soup, a short play by Ella Hickson, is the third in the Traverse Theatre’s original and entertaining A Play, A Pie, And A Pint season.

It is a bittersweet tale of strained family relationships and the difficulty of coping with change, and contains solid performances from the cast of three.

John McColl as father James is given the most to work with, battling with his high standards, insecurities and his resistance to the digital age. In a pivotal scene, where he and Dan play an old childhood game of “would you rather be…”, he is uncharacteristically stumped, unable to answer when asked “…new or old?”.

Finn Den Hertog and Bridget McCann also put in good turns as Dan and his mother respectively, but McColl, as the father in the throes of a mid-life crisis, shines the brightest.

The plot is slight, and Soup is more of an observational, character-driven piece. The dialogue is sharp and amusing in places, particularly those exchanges between James and his son, but ultimately the story feels a little too flimsy and the denouement is both sudden and a little unsatisfying.

As such, Soup indeed feels more of an appetiser than a main course, although McColl’s performance, coupled with some sharp and bittersweet comments on modern family life, make it a dish worth tasting.

Soup runs at the Traverse Theatre until Sat 20th March. Further information and tickets are available from the Traverse website.

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