Greenock's bright new arts venue has class stamped everywhere you look.
Proof that it's more than a pretty place, however, lies in the programming lined up by its director Julie Ellen. She's been actively involved (as dramaturg-cum-director) in the production that hanselled the building last week: a new piece from Birds of Paradise now touring Scotland.
Written by Danny Start, In an Alien Landscape is a knowingly-disjointed collection of flash-backs, inner voices and conflicted emotions that belong to Albie Quinn. Once upon a time Albie (Paul Cunningham, truly strung out yet vulnerable even when raging) was a determinedly physical guy. A double brain aneurysm scrambles all that: Sudden Artistic Output syndrome means all he wants to do is paint. A wrenching, rollercoaster battle with all the "selves" he was or might have been ensues, before he's ready to be this driven, almost alien Albie.
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David Toole, droll and sardonic, taunts and haunts him both as the hard-man Daddy from a bittersweet childhood and as Klang, the commentator whose rhyming couplets nod towards the "klanging" speech patterns that can arise after brain injuries. Morag Stark deftly alternates between Suze, the wife alienated by Albie's post-trauma behaviour and Dr Jill, the American fellow-sufferer who murmurs euphorically (by mail) about the cosmos but brisks up when she arrives to manage Albie's career as a successful artist. Kenny Miller's boxed-in set is a nice echo of Albie's divided self, while the Beacon's wee studio space ensured the intimacy that best suits this intensely-felt work.