The Persians: A satire of the social media generation strikes hard (4 stars)

The Persians

credit. Leslie Black

Meghan Tyler's new play is for those who like their comedy bitter

The fine china teacups are set out, and the hastily arranged meeting on bringing back the death penalty has begun. Assembled are milksop Conservative spokesman Ian Wellsely (Liam Brennan), prone to mansplaining, centrist SNP lady Kirstin Thompson (Irene Allan) and DUP-er Mary Rodgers (Meghan Tyler, who also penned this) a young woman who could start a fistfight in an empty room. What could possibly go wrong? Cut to a few sociable glasses of vintage port, dubious dancing and some brutally honest talk.

The morning after is a grim and gradual recall of 'who's first on the kill list'— Ed Sheeran or people who walk too slowly being two targets of the hostility. Worse yet, there's video evidence of the blurred, pissed-up rants— and they are starting to trend, with journalists from all over Britain circling the building. No political persuasion is safe here: Tyler's zesty script attacks everyone, and with a river of finely tuned creative expletives.

The trio are excellent, with Allan getting the honours for most convincing drunk in a boardroom. But it's not merely frivolous— the pernicious influence of social media is tucked into every one-liner and put-down— meaning that there is a real sharp resonance to Tyler's words, when a reality TV star can become president, and some political decision makers, arguably, seem perilously close to destroying civilisation as we know it.

Tyler is a new voice in theatre to be reckoned with, and with perfectly weighted direction from Paul Brotherston, it means the play whizzes along with barely a pause for breath. It's not for the easily offended, but for those who like their comedy on the bitter but truthful side, à la Chris Morris. It will intoxicate — Sláinte.

Reviewed at Oran Mor as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint running from Mon 23 April–Sat 28 April