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The Garden, Oran Mor, Glasgow

One of six new plays given scratch premieres at the Traverse during last year’s Edinburgh Fringe under the umbrella title The World Is Too Much, Zinnie Harris’s two-hander, which she also directs here, is the last in a short series of five Traverse/Oran Mor

co-productions for A Play, A Pie And A Pint. And a short (just over 30 minutes) poignant, emotionally rich little drama

it is too.

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Set in a dystopian future where mankind can’t put back together a planet it has rent asunder, Harris uses the bigger global picture of neglect leading to an Eden lost, and applies it on a much smaller, personal scale to great effect.

Mac and Jane (beautifully played by Sean Scanlan and Anne Lacey, above) are a middle-aged childless couple living in isolation on the fifth storey of an apartment block at a US research facility. Mac is a workaholic climate change expert involved in helping find a solution to a global problem he knows in his heart is unsolvable. As he tells his wife: “A man’s got to do something. A man’s got to sit in a cafeteria somewhere.”

If only he paid the same pragmatic attention to Jane, a woman on the brink, who having already been treated for depression pins her hopes of sanity – and belief in a brighter future somewhere – on her unwavering belief that there is an apple tree growing under the lino. But are her green shoots of emotional and mental recovery real or imagined? Or, like the planet itself, is the couple’s relationship beyond saving due to a lack of cultivation and too many problems having been ignored or glossed over?

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Star rating:****

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