ALFRESCO site-specific theatre is not what Mayfest has come to mean in

Glasgow's peripheral housing schemes, where shows are more usually

programmed into community centres. Greater Easterhouse Theatre, an

incorporation of various local companies, will do the rounds of those

local venues before ending its run in the Mercat Theatre in distant

Drumchapel but its show opened in the perfect surroundings of its actual


Provanhall House in Auchinlea Park is contemporary with Glasgow's more

famous ''oldest house'' Provand's Lordship and its courtyard provided a

natural space for this drama by local writers Freddie Anderson and Joe

Dornan about one of its residents, Dr John Buchanan (Alan Burns), and

his friendship with the engineer James Watt.

It is set in 1791, when Buchanan's hysterical housekeeper Rachel

(Margaret Harris) still has memories of Charles Edward Stuart. Watt (Ken

Turel) is overseeing the building of the nearby Monklands canal but can

already foresee the coming of the railway rendering the waterway


The show, linked in verse and song by Charlie Robertson and directed

by Robert McKain, is full of contemporary resonances, not least in

Watt's need to move to England to find the capital for his work. The

eternal conflict between science and religion is personified in Mary

MacPherson's fundamentalist Mother Buchan waiting to be yanked up to

heaven by the hair.

A concluding dream sequence flashes forward to the end of this

century, with Watt a statue in George Square and an environmental

message in his dialogue with two Glaswegians celebrating the new

millennium. ''How could my dreams become your nightmares?'' he asks. In

such weather and setting it was almost hard to share his concern.