Last Ferry to Dunoon
Oran Mor, Glasgow
June 24 – 29, 2019
Script: Stagecraft: Performance:
The set glowed blue with a backdrop depicting Katsushika Hokusai’s famous Great Wave print, perfectly setting the scene for us as our three characters sat together in a shelter on a stormy day, waiting for the ferry to Dunoon – it was unclear whether they planned to embark or were waiting for someone who was due to arrive. As they waited, the three – Karen (Linda Duncan McLaughlin), Aiden (Iain Robertson) and the aptly named Johnaboy (Laurie Ventry) – regaled each other with tales of the seaports and coastal towns they had visited, stories that seemed as large as the sea itself.
This week’s PPP was Peter McDougall’s amazing seventh play at the Oran Mor (he also co-wrote the very first) and opened to a full house with an eager and appreciative audience, full of relish for what was to come. And they weren’t disappointed, with the action moving from frolicking comedy to spotlit drama as the actors in turn held sway with the stories they had to tell about well-remembered summer trips down the coast to traditional destinations like Millport, Wemyss Bay, Rothsay.
As the stories unfolded, it felt as if there was more to this than met the eye as the characters revealed more about themselves and you wondered about what the relationship was between them. Karen seemed to be the cornerstone and to have the key that would tie the story together. When the storm exploded, with thunder and lightning roaring and flashing over the stage, the two fellas were thrown to the floor where they remained for a good ten minutes.
As a twirling twist Karen was repeatedly revealed in different guises, taking off her jacket to reveal an NHS costume, then later shaking out her hair to make her appear like some sort of god. There seemed to be a kind of mythical undertone to this section as she performed various small tasks over the prone men, delivering both blessings and condemnations as she woke them up obviously feeling very rough after their handling by the storm.
It seemed like no time before the hour was up and we were left slightly wondering what just happened – more than just waiting for a ferry while being blown about by the wind and the rain. A romp down memory lane perhaps. An invitation to explore the old and the new and perhaps the mythical in Scottish culture. An entertaining and intriguing experience, full of light and dark, just like the sea.