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Review: theatre

A Slow Air

A Slow Air

Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock

Neil Cooper

There's a deep-set poignancy in David Harrower's own production of his play about a brother and sister's reconciliation that feels more fully realised than when it was first produced in 2011.

This may or may not have something to do with the fact that Harrower's revival for Borderline Theatre Company is touring the country in a way it hasn't done before, but either way it captures a splintered sense of intimacy that seems to sum up the state of a nation in flux, whereby the personal and the political and the local and the global are bound together.

Athol and Morna may have both been brought up in Edinburgh but even beyond their 14-year estrangement, they are as good as worlds apart.

Where Morna gets by cleaning rich people's houses in between bringing up her son Joshua, Athol runs his own construction business from his Renfrewshire living room opposite the house where the Glasgow Airport terrorists holed up prior to their botched 2007 attack.

When Joshua turns up on Athol's doorstep just before his 21st birthday, the umbilical ties that bind them all gradually unravel a past of domestic conflict that has left plenty of indelible scars.

The sense of place in Harrower's writing is exquisite in these two inter-connected monologues, especially as delivered by Lewis Howden and Pauline Knowles, who play the siblings, flanked by hazy impressions of windows that suggest a network of modern-day fortresses.

For all the emotional rawness and brutal honesty on display, there's something bigger going on in this quiet epic that's about an entire community reconciling itself to its differences, as it tries to find somewhere called home.

A Slow Air is at Greenock Beacon on Friday, Paisley Arts Centre on Saturday and touring until May 24

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