Only The Men

Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Thu 25 Oct; Platform, Glasgow, Tue 30 Oct; Brunton Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 31 Oct; CCA, Glasgow, Thu 1–Sat 3 Nov

Only The Men


Music speaks to us in ways words or actions cannot, or so the cliché goes. This is certainly the ambitious and rather intriguing intention behind Reeling and Writhing’s new work, written by Tim Nunn and directed by Katherine Morley.

‘We represent certain characters and the environment through the music,’ says Morley of the specially commissioned score and live, on-stage flute performance. ‘I don’t want to say what we do is musical theatre because it’s not. We’re still searching for a genre definition. Our passion lies in the storytelling aspect of music, in ensuring that the music doesn’t simply become wallpaper.’

Inspired by the landscape and history of the village of Sanna on the west coast, Only the Men is the story of a middle-aged photographer’s dilemma upon returning to the croft he has inherited following his father’s death. Such a theme addresses the issue of the place of agriculture in Scottish identity, but Morley is keen to point out the wider psychological concerns. ‘It’s about that age-old argument of whether we live by the sea, spiritually, as happy creative souls or whether we need the hubbub of every day life and the presence of people.’

The show also promises to contain moments of comic relief in the form of, among other things, a stuffed sheep. ‘She’s absolutely gorgeous,’ says Morley, ‘and a very good listener.’ Live music and sheep? Go see for yourself.

Only the Men

  • 3 stars

The story of a man and his father, of lots of weather and a changing landscape, and of a sheep named Fenella (deceased). Lyrical Scottish theatre from Reeling and Writhing, fusing the music and the geography of the Scottish coast in a tragi-comic tale.


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