Recipient of the third David Maclennan Award for new writing, Kay Singh’s play for A Play, A Pie and a Pint is a dark, funny meditation on love and death, filtered through the Scottish folk tales about Selkies, seal-like creatures that shed their skin, and Japanese Noh theatre.
Languidly paced, it feels more lullaby than eulogy. Mac (Ross Mann) has recently lost his mother and is hiding in pills and booze. In his squalid flat, he is visited by two strange figures in Japanese masks (Keith MacPherson and Melanie Jordan) who claim to be his ‘spirit guides’. But are they all they seem to be?
Travelling back to the island to confront his wayward father (also portrayed by MacPherson) it becomes clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Mac’s father has issues of his own, also a heavy drinker.
Singh’s use of masked figures is a brilliant stroke of invention, and Caitlin Skinner ‘s direction is very well-judged: Jordan, a brilliantly expressive performer, is an actor with great clowning and mime skills. The mood of uneasy laughs at the deepest time of despair may not be for everyone, and the dream/reality state not always clear, but Mann’s touching, nervy performance and the duo’s creepy ethereal mimes are beautifully articulated.
Above all, the way people tell stories to cope and revert back to childhood should resonate with anyone who has experienced great loss.
All PPP photos are by Leslie Black.