The Greenhouse

August 16, 2017 | By | Reply More

★★☆☆☆   Familiar

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39): Sat 5 – Fri 25 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Humorous misadventures in the drug trade feature in Southpaw Productions and New Celts’ The Greenhouse, a play that ventures down an already well-trodden path.

A black comedy about drug dealing, death and dating, Lewis McCutcheon’s new play has hints of Irvine Welsh and Martin McDonagh. The script has life and humour, but relies heavily on stock characters and situations, giving it the inescapable feel of a sitcom. There are also wild variations of tone, and the end result is nowhere near as funny or daring as it wants to be.

A scene from The Greenhouse. Pic: Southpaw Productions

McCutcheon also performs, as psychotic drug kingpin Benjy. The character is something we have all seen before, but McCutcheon does give it a malevolent chutzpah.

Ross Newton and Blair Flucker, as flatmates and small-time pushers Gordon and Paul, suffer from a relationship that is underwritten and just does not ring true. They also seem far too polite either for their chosen profession or for their expletive-ridden exchanges, which need a much harsher and more committed delivery. Newton has an engaging stage persona, and Flucker’s comic timing is spot on, but they never quite convince.



A large slice of the story deals with their romantic problems; these seem to come from another, more sentimental, play altogether. This means that the character of Gordon’s girlfriend Stella does seem out of place. Her problems with Gordon’s commitment issues seem irrelevant to the situation she finds herself in. Anna Vanosi does give the role her all in terms of believability.

Adam Patterson plays two roles, neither anything more than a stereotype, but puts considerable energy and humour into them.

None of the cast can be faulted for effort, and they all display genuine promise. The main problem is that the play is pushing in two directions at once. It would be perfectly possible to have a pitch-black comedy about drug dealers that also contained philosophical musings about personal fulfilment, but this does not succeed sufficiently in either regard.

Running time 1 hour 5 minutes (no interval)
theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39), 80 High Street, EH1 1TH
Saturday 5 – Friday 25 August 2017
Odd dates only at 3.40 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/greenhouse
Southpaw Facebook: @SouthpawContact
Southpaw Twitter: @ContactSouthpaw

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