Absurdist parable that doesn’t quite work
This article is from 2011.
Inspired by Edinburgh College of Art teacher Ed Hollis’ book The Secret Lives of Buildings, Lyceum artistic director Mark Thomson’s first play for the Fringe since his much lauded Moving Objects is an absurdist-realist parable that doesn’t quite work. Set in modern-day Scotland, it opens with the inexplicable appearance of an ancient stone wall inside a working class home. This turns out to be the Holy House of Loreto (the dwelling in which Mary conceived Jesus, originally located in Nazareth but teleported – or flitted – to Italy 300 years ago, we’re informed via a clunky bit of exposition), the arrival of which disillusioned young lad Sam takes to herald a miracle, despite the fact that the wall has crushed and imprisoned both his parents.
Said miracle prompts Sam to leave the house(s) and go on a walking tour to fathom the meaning of it. Unfortunately, all he gets is grief, from, variously, neds, their junkie parents, his cheating girlfriend, a mad dentist and a stressed executive. It’s a well-acted show, but despite some funny lines the script isn’t strong enough to carry the interesting premise, and the conclusion is terribly trite.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), times vary, £15–£17 (£11–£12).