Only The Men
A play that deals with the emotional intricacies of father-son relationships is certainly nothing new. Reeling and Writhing’s new work inspired by the landscape and history of remote Sanna Bay in Ardnamurchan, explores the issues two men have with their pasts, but do we care enough to listen?
The Son (Callum Cuthbertson), a middle-aged Glasgow based photographer, has travelled back to the croft he inherited following his father’s (James McAnerney) recent death. The last remaining family member, he is left with two decisions; where to lay his father’s ashes and where he himself should rrest; town versus country, old versus new. As the Father makes a posthumous comeback to air the family’s dirty laundry, we discover truths about the female family members and the reasons behind each man’s strong emotional attachment to the land.
This insular plot is brought to life with the presence of flautist Katie Punter, whose breathy interludes are magic in themselves providing colour to a rather monochrome piece. Both Cuthbertson and McAnerney’s performances are well measured, and Katherine Morley’s direction ensures a believable paternal relationship despite the Father returning in his son’s memory as a younger man. The family’s stuffed sheep, Fenella, provides some comic moments but this is a clunky narrative device, designed only to allow the characters to voice writer Tim Nunn’s inner monologues. The minimal set perhaps doesn’t go far enough to evoke the landscape of the play’s setting. A dramatic ending and interesting use of composer Eddie McGuire’s original score certainly gives this play an edge, but more action and less musing may be required to shed new light on the rather basic themes.