Theatre lovers in Edinburgh can have their lunchtime appetites sated once more – The Traverse’s A Play, A Pie & A Pint season is back for another 5 week run.
This collection of new short plays is a co-production with Òran Mór and the National Theatre of Scotland, and features a collection of contemporary works all from South America, adapted by Scottish writers. The Company Will Overlook A Moment Of Madness (by Venezuelan playwright Rodolfo Santana; adapted by Morna Pearson) is the first of the season: a darkly humourous examination of loyalty and manipulation.
Orlando Nunez (Lewis Howden) is a long-serving company employee, viewed as a hero by his co-workers and the apprentices he trains. When he snaps in a moment of seemingly unpredictable rage, he is sent to the company psychologist Doctor Garcia (Jo Freer), who is – on the surface – tasked with assessing if he is fit to return to work.
Throughout the course of this 40-minute two-hander, Nunez finds his past stripped bare by the good doctor; his family history dissected and picked over in an attempt to find out what caused his outburst. Yet, as the play progresses, it becomes clear – as a potential revolution smoulders outside the office window – that the company’s motives may not be all they seem.
The piece has a subtle power, using throwaway lines and the intensity of both characters to portray a dark and almost tragic mood. This is lightened however by the moments of black comedy; and by the likeable performances from the actors. Howden reveals Nunez’ hidden depths beneath his seemingly simple exterior with an expressive performance; whilst Freer is excellent as the slightly neurotic Doctor Garcia, the cracks beneath her professional veneer exposing the true nature of her character.
A poignant yet entertaining piece, The Company Will Overlook A Moment Of Madness gets the new PP&P season off to a strong start and yet again shows that satsifying lunchtime treats needn’t always be of the edible kind.