PPP: Daniel Getting Married

April 6, 2022 | By More

★★★☆☆     Fragmentary

Traverse Theatre: Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 April 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

Daniel Getting Married, the latest Play, Pie and a Pint from Oran Mor at the Traverse, goes ahead in extremely trying circumstances. The result is far more coherent than anyone has any right to expect.

Even in these strange times, to have two out three cast members unavailable because of Covid is an unusual occurrence. It is to the credit of all concerned that having their two replacements both performing ‘script in hand’ did not impact too greatly on the smooth running of the play.

Neil John Gibson and original cast member: Ann Louise Ross. Pic: Jonny Scott

It would surely have been a different story had Neil John Gibson as central character Daniel been unavailable, but he was able to anchor the performance as a conflicted, sympathetic and utterly believable figure.

The set-up – teacher Daniel is preparing for his ‘big gay wedding’ to Zach somewhere in small-town southern Scotland, when old flame Gabriel turns up to complicate matters – is intriguingly and economically done. Gabriel’s contention that by getting married, Daniel is merely co-opting the moral values of a straight world that has done them few favours, makes for an interesting moral quandary.

Unfortunately, Daniel’s response comes largely in the form of a plea for equitable treatment that – however welcome and well put it may be – sits oddly in the context of the drama’s development. And then it all just stops.

extended sketch

This feels more of an extended sketch than a full-blown drama. Regular PPP attendees may well feel that it is refreshing to have an offering that does not push at the upper boundaries of the hour-long slot, but this barely limps over the half-hour mark. The ending, meanwhile, is less cliffhanger than full-blown cop-out.

Neil John Gibson and original cast members: Ann Louise Ross and Kristopher Bosch. Pic: Jonny Scott

Which is a shame, as this has much else to recommend it. There is a sparky quality to much of JD Stewart’s dialogue, which is done justice by Gibson’s thoroughly big-hearted performance. Michael Dylan’s Gabriel has more charm and life than anyone holding a script could be expected to provide. Ann Louise Ross’s shoes, meanwhile, are huge ones to fill, but Emily Winter is no slouch herself and gives Daniel’s mother Joy considerable presence.

The highest compliment that can be paid to Kenny Miller’s direction is that it is flexible enough to withstand such last-minute substitutions and still flow so beautifully.

Gemma Patchett and Jonny Scott’s design is somewhat fussier than is often the case in PPP, and does resemble a beauty salon as much as a church, but has a certain charm. This could also be said of the whole affair.

It would be churlish to be too hard on a production that went ahead under such duress, but this must be filed under promising rather than wholly successful.

Running time: 35 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED
Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 April 2022
Daily at 1.00 pm
Information and tickets: Book here.

Original cast member Kristopher Bosch with Neil John Gibson. Pic: Jonny Scott

ENDS

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