- Alistair Maxwell
- 24 August 2018
A Journey into finding a father
When seventeen-year-old Elsie's Gran passes away, she bestows upon her information long kept secret: the location and identity of Elsie's father. This launches a voyage of self-discovery fraught with uncomfortable truths that Elsie, and indeed, everyone must face growing up. As Elsie travels from her home in Glasgow to the foreign lands of Manchester, she learns both about the world and herself.
The play is a simple two-hander with author Skye Lourie starring as the titular Elsie. She is supported by the capable Graeme Dalling who plays everyone else in Elsie's life, from the encouraging homeless man to her discouraging mother. The set is a small string of simple props hung along the back wall, and a large trunk. It is impressive just how much mileage the performers can get from the sparse set; they are capable of creating entire worlds from just an errant look, and a dishtowel held in a certain way.
Lourie's performance as the cheeky teen elicits laughter from the audience with great ease, but she also draws out confusion and sympathy from them when she discovers that her father is severely disabled. Elsie's father is portrayed by an empty wheelchair. In the same way the audience does not know quite how to react to this bold symbolism, Elsie does not know how to react to her father's condition. Many questions are raised about the way disabled people are treated, and it is interesting to note the slight difference between modern-day treatment and that of the play's time setting: 1997.
All in all, it is a pleasant story with plenty of humour and many moving moments. There are many questions raised but few answers provided. Elsie's situation, much like most things in life, is not simple.
Elsie Thatchwick, Zoo Southside, 16-27 Aug, 6:30pm, £10 (£9).