Flying With Swans
4th-8th November 1pm £12
(additional performance 7pm Friday 7th November)
Traipsing through a damp Autumnal Edinburgh day towards a theatre at lunchtime. Greeted by the welcoming aroma of delicious pies, a pint and a play. What a fantastic idea! And I was not alone in thinking this. The bar was packed to a sell out audience. I went for the veggie haggis pie and a pint and awaited the entertainment. The play was ‘Flying with Swans’, by Jack Dickson. The story of 3 woman, old friends, who reunite for a journey on the ferry to Arran to watch the swans take off on their annual migration. A simple stage design of barriers and benches sets the scene on the top deck of a ferry, where the whole play takes place. Three uniquely different characters confront their fears and hopes as their pasts are revealed and reimagined, along with the weight of impending old age. One character confronts her secrets of lost love and living for appearances, one wrestles with the fear of becoming a burden and sacrificing independence, the other, portrayed at first as carefree and crazy, emerges as the one with least to regret. An unlikely scenario for a comedy perhaps, but the play is peppered with sharp one liners and a dry, dark humour that had the audience in laughing the whole way through.
“Dementia must be nice”, muses Jean, as she pops her pills and wrestles with the modern world. The play turns old age on it’s head as the characters morph from victims to comedy protagonists, bringing the voices of a past generation into the modern world. A Scottish pensioners version of ‘Thelma and Louse’, the play moves at a fast, sharp pace with poignant moments of reflection and realisation . “The swans know when to leave, they don’t think about it, they just do it”, the characters muse, and the acceptance and inevitability of change, and the passing of time, is a constant throughout. I left the theatre with a smile and renewed vigour to live life to the full, with no fear or regret, though that may well have been partly attributed to the afternoon pint. A fantastic performance and a wonderful strategy to fill this old theatre, mid week, mid day, with laughter and warmth. A brilliant way to spend a lunchtime. THREE STARS
Reviewer : Glenda Rome