The Sky is Safe

Tron, Glasgow

Keith Bruce

four stars

STILL best known for the recently-revived staging of his own family's migration history, The Tailor of Inverness, Matthew Zajac's Dogstar company uses some of the same effective, but necessarily inexpensive, staging techniques in his new play, again working with director Ben Harrison.

Set design by Nihad Al Turk is evocative bur spare, with Tim Reid's video elements are effective in transporting the audience to contemporary Turkey, where many Syrians have found an imperfect refuge. Pippa Murphy's music and sound are such an essential part of the structure that a radio version would surely be a logical further home for the production. Crucially, however, Zajac is not alone on stage this time, Dana Hajaj playing not only the central characters of Amal and her "brother" Murat that his travelling businessman Gordon encounters in Istanbul, but also a list of other women, whose real-life tales of escape from Syria Zajac has dovetailed into his narrative.

The play's main flaw is that these two strands are not integrated as well as they might be, although they provide crucial context, and a dramatic storyline, in service of each other, but Hajaj is such a compelling presence onstage that such misgivings are easily set aside. Zajac and Harrison have given her a particularly demanding brief, and she differentiates between the women in small details of vocal tone and hand gestures with a skill that is impressive, but never detracts from the emotional heart of the piece.

Both poetic and politically-nuanced, this important piece of theatre is now on tour across Scotland until the end of the month. Venues include many corners of Scotland now rarely visited by our once-vibrant sector of touring companies, as Harrison rightly points out in a programme note. Don't miss a chance to see it.