Sex & God (4 stars)

Sex & God

Powerful fragmented portrait of 20th century women's lives from playwright Linda McLean

Award-winning playwright Linda McLean has never been one to pass up the opportunity to experiment with form, and her new work for Magnetic North, Sex & God, is perhaps her most ambitious to date. Barely an hour in length, the piece focuses on four women from across the span of the 20th century, overlapping and juxtaposing their stories to create a powerful collage of embattled lives, repeatedly obstructed and frustrated by economic and social hardships.

McLean’s lyrical dialogue is at times so fragmented that following every detail is tricky, while the generally traumatic nature of the stories could perhaps have been leavened by some quieter passages. But director Nicholas Bone has drawn fine performances from the four-strong cast of Ashley Smith, Lesley Hart, Louise Ludgate and Natalie Wallace, who move around Claire Halleran’s chessboard set with its central motif of precariously-stacked chairs and bend themselves to the rhythms of the writing with such precision that it’s impossible not to be drawn in.

Sex & God is touring Scotland until Fri 26 Oct. Seen at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Fri 5 Oct.

Sex & God

Linda McLean's new work is four monologues on religion, family and lust, telling the life stories of four women from across the 20th century. Presented by Magnetic North (Walden, Pass the Spoon).