Lungs (4 stars)

This article is from 2015


Credit: Richard Davenport

Stark yet sensitive drama about having a child return

Duncan Macmillan's wonderful Lungs returns to Roundabout @ Summerhall after last year's sold out run, with 2015 looking to bring the same success again. Paines Plough rep actors Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis give blistering performances as a couple heatedly discussing whether or not to have a baby, debating everything from the effect of pregnancy on a woman's body to the environmental impact of having a child.

There's an Aaron Sorkin-like quality to Macmillan's dialogue. It's fast and ferocious, and Reese-Williams and Salis give heart-wrenching performances as they zip through the ups and downs of impending parenthood. Scene changes are instantaneous and they hardly stop for breath. And though it's hard to take your gaze away from them, try to take a moment to look at the crowd's' faces as they watch the play (relatively easy to do in this well-lit venue, designed in the round). It's a testament to how well written and well performed Lungs is that each audience member is rapt, with some plot turns drawing audible gasps, and sobs.

The couple might verge on the annoying in their over-analytical, middle class worthiness, but Macmillan's script shines. His relationship drama is stark, honest, often unflattering – and wholly, completely believable. Be warned: you'll need tissues for this one.

Roundabout @ Summerhall, 560 1581, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23–30 Aug, 3.35pm & 10.30pm (24, 26, 28, 30 Aug), £15–£17 (£10–£12).


  • 4 stars

Paines Plough ‘I could fly to New York and back every day for seven years and still not leave a carbon footprint as big as if I have a child. Ten thousand tonnes of CO2. That’s the weight of the Eiffel Tower. I’d be giving birth to the Eiffel Tower.’ In a time of global anxiety, erratic weather and political unrest, a…