- Lorna Irvine
- 16 October 2019
Ian Pattison's drama about RD Laing is sad and beautiful
When it comes to family values, it seems Glaswegian psychiatrist Ronald David Laing subscribed more to Philip Larkin's tenets than Sigmund Freud. With a tendency towards stripping off and imbibing substances with his patients rather than adhering to quiet introspection, his methods were controversial, but often effective. It was the sixties, after all, and attitudes were shifting.
If only his own interpersonal relationships were half as effective. Ian Pattison's play, first brought to PPP in 2013, is revived here with a brilliant Billy Mack bringing swagger to his original role as Laing, and two subtle performances from new cast members Eva Traynor as outspoken daughter Karen and Sarah Miele as softer, more forgiving Susie.
Laing, it seems, was more interested in intellectual discourse, his love affair with German fiancée Jutta, and playing his adult children off against each other, than ever showing empathy. Sadder still, was that Susie was terminally ill with leukemia when he eventually re-entered her life.
First time PPP director Clare Prenton brings a slow burning tension to Divided. There's a deep well of sorrow here, but, this being Pattison, the moments of familial conflict are tempered with some glorious one-liners, such as 'God has a very Glasgow sense of humour'. Suffice it to say, there's no happy ending, but there's a resolution, of sorts.
Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Sat 19 Oct.