Our Fathers (4 stars)

Our Fathers

Magnetic North explore the father-son bond, and if differing views can destroy it

Based on the book Father and Son, published by the poet Edmund Gosse in 1907, Our Fathers looks again, more than a century on, at the difficult bond between parent and child.

Gosse's memoir deals with the difficulty he faced growing up in an Evangelical Christian family, as he slowly lost faith in a religion to which his father had devoted his life. For Rob Drummond and Nicholas Bone it's a story all too familiar: both grew up with ministers for fathers, but as adults neither have inherited their beliefs.

The play's premise is very simple: Rob and Nicholas act out scenes from the book, and in between discuss their own fathers. They worry that by not declaring their atheism outright they have weakened father-son bonds. Switching smoothly between child-like humour and adult grief, emotions and passion are still oddly restrained for a theatre production. Perhaps deliberately so: the underlying message in this quiet, unimposing play is to respect others' beliefs, and to learn to live with differences.

In an age plagued by people always compelled to speak (and tweet) their minds, Our Fathers' careful dialogue suggests that while truth is an essential part of any close relationship, sometimes the unspoken agreement to disagree can be just as valuable. There are no great new truths revealed here – just a simple one which has been passed down generations: love thy neighbour.

Seen at Traverse Theatre.

Our Fathers

Magnetic North present a play inspired by Father and Son, Edmund Gosse’s Victorian memoir about growing up in an evangelical Christian family.