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In on it

Written by Daniel MacIvor, directed by Tracy Martin

With Brian Burns and Owen Martin

From the opening lines it is clear that, as theatre goers, we the audience are “in on it”. The actors are trying to make a play work, a gay couple trying to make their relationship work and a despairing playwright is at his wit’s end. All strive to achieve control but it eludes them. There may be conscious nods to Beckett’s waiting or Pirandello’s characters in search of an author or even Michael Frayn’s frenetic actors trying to cobble a play together. Or there may not; any echo may be mere coincidence: the play makes much of how the random and the incidental in life can affect us in ways that are trivial or profound, even tragic.

 

Scenes are reprised, actors swapping roles across age, gender and relationships. The narratives – there are three – are not all fragmented, however and there are times when the audience is pulled up sharp in mid-chuckle by a moment of serious emotion involving grief, loss or despair. These are offset by hilarious episodes as the role swapping gives plenty of scope for parody and general comedy.

 

Brian Burns and Owen Martin, as This One and That One, exploit every opportunity offered by the script. If the roles of wife or young boy result in occasional screechiness, this is but a minor quibble; these are fine performances by any standard. Tracy Martin’s direction is taut and detailed, the pacing is beautifully controlled and her production is well served by John Neville’s sound and Susie Cummins’s lighting design.