3 Seconds at Glasgow Oran Mor – theatre review

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Scotsman review:  Joyce McMillan gives her verdict on 3 Seconds, the first Play, Pie And Pint drama by actress and writer Lesley Hart…

★★★

The town is drenched with rain; the streets near the river, and the town square, are already under water.

A woman called Mary arrives at a house on a hill, soaked through. Diane, who lives in the house, greets her in a manner so odd it borders on madness. Every carpet and upholstered surface is apparently covered with clingfilm to keep it clean, every surface constantly sprayed with antiseptic, Diane almost crazed when she hears the front door has been left open; people in this small town leave their doors open, she says, but that’s because they have “no grasp of reality”.

It’s a strange, powerful opening to the first Play, Pie And Pint drama by actress and writer Lesley Hart; and if the 45-minute play that follows doesn’t quite match the deep resonances of that opening scene, it’s still sustained with terrific intensity, in Hamish Pirie’s production.

It soon becomes clear that the women know one another better than we think, linked by the kind of terrible, meaningless accident that destroys lives. The situation becomes more complex when Diane’s teenage daughter Christine returns from school, seething with rage and emotional disturbance.

The theme of unresolved grief is a familiar one, and it’s not clear that Hart has much to add to our understanding of it.

Yet in Mary and Diane, she creates two powerful, haunting characters, whose different shades of pain, grief, guilt, rage and wildness are beautifully captured by Cara Kelly and Claire Knight; and there’s passionate support, too, from Helen Mackay as Christine, in an impressive debut play that runs until Saturday at Oran Mor, and then at Edinburgh’s Traverse, next week.

By JOYCE MCMILLAN

Originally published in The Scotsman

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