Review: Gap Years at Oran Mor

A Play A Pie and A Pint

Nicola RoyTom MarshallVari Sylvester

Photo: Leslie Black

Underneath Gavin Smith’s seemingly lightweight comedy -drama about family ties and the need for freedom lies a very different play- one that’s ineffably heartbreaking, concerned with the ageing process, loneliness and, ultimately, mortality itself.

Geraldine (Vari Sylvester) and Peter (Tom Marshall) are friends (or maybe more) in their mid sixties who fancy a slow boat to China, as well as dancing classes. It’s possibly their last chance to do something together. Plans are almost greenlit until a mis-step arrives in the neurotic form of Geraldine’s daughter Louise (Nicola Roy) who insists that her mother be responsible, with trowels of guilt, in looking after her new baby while she returns to work.’You’re spending my inheri…’ she splutters, to Geraldine’s abject horror.

Tom Marshal Vari Sylvester

Photo: Leslie Black

A fight ensues,with freespirit Peter the unwilling referee to the familial conflict, in which both parenting styles and aspirations are used as weapons. The apple, it seems, did not fall from the tree. ‘It’s only a biscuit’, Geraldine sighs, admonished yet again for feeding the baby a small snack, before casually reminding Louise she raised a selfish daughter.Doors slam and voices are raised, but it’s tough love.

Sylvester and Marshall make for a sprightly pair (particularly the otherwordly, graceful Sylvester) all flamboyant gestures and cheeky one-liners, and Smith’s script has a lot of fun with the modern references like ‘Netflix and chill’, glamping and 50 Cent (not Kendrick Lamar?!) whereas Roy portrays Louise in a more naturalistic way, creating a strange disconnect in tone at times.

Nonetheless, it’s a wry battle of the generations, with a lot to say about choices we make or evade which shape the future, the passing of time and the way we often destroy the ones we most care for with too much love. McNicoll’s direction is pacy and never too sentimental, but tender and poignant where it really counts.

IMG_5690i Nicola Roy and Vari Svlvester

Photo: Leslie Black

(Lorna Irvine)

At Oran Mor until March 18th


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