PPP: Break My Windows

September 27, 2022 | By More

★★★☆☆      Vigorous

Traverse: Tue 27 Sept – Sat 1 Oct 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

Having your heart in the right place does not always lead to compelling drama. The political messages in Break My Windows, the latest Play, Pie and a Pint from Oran Mor at the Traverse, may be muddled, but there is a lively comic capability on display.

Graduate Brandon, employed as ‘recruitment manager’ in his father Eric’s start-up business in Leith, is eager to put his boyfriend Sam forward as his assistant. However, Sam, who works as a driver for them, fails to make a good first impression on Eric when he crashes into his BMW – especially as he is uninsured.

Jamie McKillop and Tom McGovern

There is an undoubted energy to Dave Gerow’s script, as well as considerable political bite. The combination of family-conflict comedy-drama and examination of the gig economy under late capitalism is done with a great deal of elegance.

Which is not to say that the end result is faultless, or indeed particularly convincing. It is best not to examine too closely the concept of the Bring Me Wheels start-up; its combination of Hermes, Uber and Deliveroo seems somewhat unlikely, and the name is chosen seemingly to be one of a series of jokes using the initials BMW.

The plot twists, meanwhile, are even less plausible. The political content, furthermore, loses much of its impact by being played out mainly as a shouting match between two characters with entrenched, stereotypical views. This may be an accurate reflection of much of the echo-chamber posturing that passes for debate in 2022, but it hardly makes for satisfying drama. It also means that the characterisations are less than rounded, and it is accordingly difficult to care very much about anyone.

Jamie McKillop and Ross Baxter

However, the comic vigour of the dialogue goes a long way to compensating for this. Tom McGovern has an awful plausibility as the horribly unsympathetic Eric, while Jamie McKillop’s Sam is portrayed with an expansive relish. Caught in the middle is Ross Baxter’s Brandon, desperate for approval and given a considerable naive charm.

Ken Alexander’s direction is beautifully paced, making great use of the acting space and of Gemma Patchett and Jonny Scott’s economical set design. Mark Gillespie’s sound and Ross Kirkland’s lighting are also extremely accomplished.

All of this goes a long way towards giving this production the necessary vitality, which compensates for its occasional lack of coherence.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED
Tuesday 27 September – Saturday 1 October 2022
Daily at 1.00 pm
Tickets and details: Book here.

ENDS

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