Safe Place (4 stars)

Safe Place

The vagaries and problems of labelling in Clara Glynn's thoughtful drama

A beautiful, truly haunting performance from young actor Shane Convery is at the centre of writer and director Clara Glynn's sensitive, rich drama for PPP. Martine (Jennifer Black, also superb) is a dogmatic feminist writer and academic of the old school, suffering a sucker punch when she is banned from giving a talk at Glasgow University, due to her remarks that trans women are not real women due to biology. Accusations of being TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist) fly, and just like Germaine Greer's recent real-life experiences, Martine finds herself at the heart of a very public media storm.

So she is less than thrilled when glam but vulnerable young trans woman Rowan (Convery) appears on her doorstep at 4 am, hungry, homeless and with a few choice words for her unlikely guardian angel. What follows changes not only her outlook, but her whole life. Quicker than you can say 'intersectionality', a volley of insults between both women become tender testimonies to lived experience, and a step further towards a kind of compromise. Both main characters may be somewhat stereotyped, but they're given enough flaws and endearing traits to convince as real people, both of whom have been hurt by bigotry and societal expectations. There are moments of heartbreaking beauty here, with a naturalistic pace which gives Glynn's beautifully written dialogue room to breathe. Even if the conclusion is a simple one, it is no less affecting for that.

Oran Mor, Byres Road, Glasgow, until Apr 29
Traverse Theatre, Cambridge Street, Edinburgh, May 2–6th

Safe Place

A play about a young woman who arrives at an older woman's door, seeking shelter.

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