There is a tiny packet of individually wrapped sweets, as dainty as a hare’s droppings, waiting on every seat. I had the back row of the house to myself and so there was nothing to stop me from eating all of the sweets. Yet if one cannot get to Tychy’s heart through confectionary, the next tactic is to try Norman MacCaig.
Another great Edinburgh writer – his poems as fresh and rich as Philip Larkin’s – MacCaig’s forte was a sort of poetic deadpan. One of Britain’s greatest nature poets, MacCaig’s verses nevertheless always retain the drollery and refinement of a sparkling night out in Edinburgh. A stablemate of CUADC’s “As You Like It” and presently running at C Nova, “Interruption” is based upon MacCaig’s lines about running over a hare whilst driving with his wife at night. Yet MacCaig’s poem characteristically finds nothing to say – it is pure, bare life. The poem becomes stuck to this play like a sprig of lavender, exuding its faint mysterious scent.
Tychy is always suspicious of “devised” “physical theatre.” In this show the ensemble are a human ectoplasm, out of which anything can be made. The hero and heroine of the story, Jack and Jill, are played by a small platoon. The whole show is frenetic and elaborately organised, and it is like watching a parlour game of which you are ignorant of the rules. Everybody in a true ensemble should be indistinguishable; they should be identically capable at whatever they put their hands to. Yet Robbie Aird and Rochelle Thomas are the clear winners of this parlour game. The former can make an elderly man out of a wobbling jaw; the latter can age fifty years in a matter of seconds.
We take the scenic route and wind back and forth down country lanes to reach the facts of this story. Jill is killed by a car, possibly whilst chasing a hare through the night. We see what has been lost and what might have been. Despite the subtlety of the storytelling, and all of the energy with which these characters are brought to life, the ending is blunt and stark. The characters are as plain as the original Jack and Jill from nurseryland. Still, the ensemble are clever on their feet and generous with the sweets.