A Play, A Pie and A Pint is back at the Traverse for the autumn season and it has kicked off with a good’un.
Outside In is a modern Scottish farce, with twists, hilarity, great writing and some fantastic performances. In fact it nigh on nails the perfect lunchtime play: an easy watch, with just enough depth, that pleases crowds of all ages and sensibilities.
The first few minutes don’t seem especially promising. We meet Jay (Cristian Ortega), an agoraphobic young man, home alone, waiting for his mother to return from work. As he sets the scene (mostly by bemoaning a noisy cat), it’s all a little pedestrian. That is, until we meet Coco, the hapless wannabe hardman criminal.
Coco resembles the kind of character you might meet in Scot Squad, or Gary: Tank Commander – unsurprising given that the play’s writer, Chris Grady, numbers these shows among his TV credits. Played to joyfully hilarious perfection by Martin Quinn, Coco is well-observed, totally believable, intentionally annoying, yet lovable. He and Jay form an unlikely alliance, formed from circumstance and a mutual love for Game of Thrones. It’s a kind of tongue in cheek reminder that whatever our societal differences and values, we’re all the same at heart, especially when it comes to a weakness for epic fantasy blockbusters.
A third character is introduced to the existing double act, in the form of a police officer (Katie Barnett), and here, the farce is fully unleashed. Sally Reid makes her directorial debut with finesse and while the brilliantly crafted script gives much to go on, plenty is added in the form of physical comedy, blocking and timing. To reveal too much of the plot’s arc would spoil the turns along the way. But suffice to say, there are surprises in store, which we don’t get a chance to anticipate – and each surprise is backed up by some cracking lines and spot on delivery.
The piece does have a more serious side too. While it focuses on lightly entertaining, the themes of phobia, gun crime and violence are at the play’s centre. This is arguably one of the best lunchtime offering’s to come from A Play, A Pie and a Pint. So whether you like pastry and lunchtime drinking or not, this is well worth checking out for a hearty afternoon laugh.