‘E Polish Quine

Paisley Arts Centre, Tue 29 May, then touring


Henry Adam’s capacity to emotionally move an audience has remained unchallenged in Scotland over recent years. This writer’s work, for all the wildly funny farce of such pieces as The People Next Door, and unflinching political commentary of Petrol Jesus Nightmare has, at its centre, a warmth and human compassion which never fails to melt the stoniest heart.

Yet, for all this, there’s often a sense of just how frighteningly human beings can behave, a quality that director Matthew Zajac finds in this rewritten version of Adam’s play of the early 90s. In it, a young soldier returns to his rural Aberdeenshire home after the Second World War to find the adjacent farm to his parents is occupied by some Polish emigrants. With ambitions for the place themselves, the family engage in a dangerous rivalry, which profoundly affects the emotional futures of several of the characters.

‘He’s a very beautiful and courageous writer, and he’s not afraid of looking at the darker side of human nature,’ says Zajac. ‘It’s not a classical tragedy, but there’s a tragic element to it, which I think some audiences will find very cathartic. It examines the idea that what the Nazis did can in fact be done by any race or nationality at any time, depending on the circumstances. The potential for evil is within each of us.’ Once again, though, you might expect a night from this touring production by Dogstar which will effect the heart as much as the head.

(Steve Cramer)

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