God's Own Country (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

*4God's Own Country

Assured performance from Kyle Ross in adaptation of Ross Raisin's rural thriller

Rural idyll? Not here. Kyle Ross' adaptation of Ross Raisin's novel, where he takes the starring lead as young farmer Sam Marsdyke, is a monologue rich with imagery both bucolic and horrific. The set is simple, just a black box with straw around it, where our grinning storyteller paces, his expression animated as he talks of the gorier aspects of lambing, 'townies' moving to Yorkshire to attain 'authenticity' and the voyeurism of observing mating livestock.

Ross is a fine assured performer, although initially struggling a bit with voice projection. His keen, open face is an apposite fit for the ultimate in unreliable narrators, with large darting eyes. When he meets an attractive, well-to-do young woman, another facet to his personality is revealed: one that has been pushed too far by bullies- and has a string of convictions.

Soon, it becomes apparent he likes his women like his cows: docile and tethered. Belly laughs become uncomfortable chuckles, then faces blanch. The final few scenes are among the most sickeningly depicted, as they are rooted in the everyday, and Sam Marsdyke an entirely plausible psychopath. As with all the best thrillers though, it is what's left out that is most shocking.

Zoo Southside, 0131 662 6567, until 24 Aug, 8pm, £10 (£8).

God's Own Country

  • 3 stars

Fine Mess Theatre Company 'I smiled my lumpy old smile.’ North Yorkshire farmer Sam Marsdyke is struggling. Everything is changing and sometimes it feels like everyone in the whole valley hates him. Except her. 'A girl shows up and I'd turned into a half brain.' Fine Mess present an affecting, unsettling and darkly comic…