Theatre review: Pilgrim
Theatre review: Pilgrim

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Pilgrim, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield. ★★★ Christy Riley is an unlikely pilgrim. After five months of drinking and debauchery in California, he’s reluctantly heading home to Dublin, having discovered that he has left his childhood sweetheart pregnant. Unfortunately, he chooses to travel on 11 September, 2001. When his …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Pilgrim, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield.

★★★

Christy Riley is an unlikely pilgrim. After five months of drinking and debauchery in California, he’s reluctantly heading home to Dublin, having discovered that he has left his childhood sweetheart pregnant. Unfortunately, he chooses to travel on 11 September, 2001. When his flight is grounded for four days in Gambo, a remote fishing town in Newfoundland, the time comes to face some home truths about himself.

Philip Doherty’s one-man play, performed with energy and verve by Rex Ryan under the direction of Aoife Spillane-Hinks, paints a colourful picture both of its cocky, self-centred protagonist, and of the Gambo community, which rallies round to help “the plane people”.

At its best, the writing has a fiery poetic energy, though it veers between moments of blood-and-vomit realism and, occasionally, a whimsical leprechaun-infested Irishness. After four days in Gambo – three benders, two beatings and a fake apparition – Christy is a new man.

Whether or not his transformation is entirely believable, this is a clever portrait of a young man who, as terrorism and tragedy unfold on the sidelines, gets a crash course in growing up.

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 31 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 10 August 2015

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