Rona Munro's rom-com-thriller Pandas features candid humour and fine performances but lacks focus
- Allan Radcliffe
- 25 April 2011
Rona Munro's latest work is a strange mix of thriller and far-fetched romantic comedy that only really comes into focus as a meditation on contemporary relationships in the final moments
The piece set-up as a series of two-handers between seemingly disparate characters, all with a connection to tax-dodging businessman Andy (Keith Fleming), who imports rugs from China. When he’s shot in the backside and suffers a heart attack the main suspect is his ex, entomologist Madeleine (Meg Fraser), whose neuroses and passions bubble over in a hilarious police station scene with police officer James (Phil McKee), whose own wife Julie (Vicki Liddelle) has been playing away from home. Meanwhile, Andy’s inexperienced business partner Jie Hui (Siu Hun Li) struggles to explain his involvement in the incident to Lin Han (Crystal Yu), with whom he has been enjoying a blossoming internet romance.
Munro does succeed in bringing these threads together, though, frustratingly, the various conflicts introduced in the first half are resolved rather easily, leaving the play relying too heavily for its appeal on the candid humour in the script and the spotless performances.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 7 May.