Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 16 Mar-Sat 7 Apr


I expect at times we all wonder what life is all about. Beyond all the ceaseless trudging on and on, the struggle with mortgages, the hassles at work, the stress of supermarket queues and so on, there’s surely some greater purpose. Whether there is or not, the writing of Des Dillon seems to characterise our struggle to find something above pure quotidian existence. In Six Black Candles, we saw a group of women practising witchcraft to instill some justice into the world. This year, the quest for the metaphysical finds a more orthodox outlet.

In this new comedy, we meet a group of Glasgow men who’ve come to the mountaintop retreat of a renowned Italian monk with healing powers, in order that their mate can be cured of his catatonia. Here they meet a woman obsessed with her ex-husband, also intent upon a way out.

The farcical possibilities are obvious, but director Mark Thomson says there’s a depth beyond the humour. ‘There’s an earthy foul mouthed poetry to it, but there’s something else under it that’s above the everyday world. Monks has a philosophical resonance to it. It requires a kind of quixotic alacrity of mind and spirit from the actors,’ he says. ‘We’re a culture in search of a spiritual truth and that gap, that sense of a black hole, we’ve no idea how to fill it, whether it’s some new form of spirituality or another kind of quest.’ Promising a night of twisting plots and exotic locations, if this piece doesn’t instil you with a renewed faith, it should at least fill an evening with laughter.

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