This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews. The original post can be viewed here.
As the Tron Theatre’s diverse programme showcasing the works of four legendary British poets, the Home Nations Festival celebrates the unique characteristics of each of the four home nations in our United Kingdom, the Tron’s home soil is represented by Liz Lochhead’s fictional account of the final year of the late, great Edwin Morgan and the dreams that lingered in his mind.
Confined to a single hospital room, Scotland’s Makar* Edwin Morgan (David McKay) reveals elements of his complex life to his biographer James McGonigal (Laurie Ventry). Edwin’s willingness to discuss all subjects, in particular the open nature in which he addresses his sexuality, helps to shed light upon his work and the multiple interpretations of his writing embraced by his readers. To any Morgan fan, Edwin Morgan’s Dreams and Other Nightmares is a fascinating insight to the man behind the poetry and his various muses, including a series of significant men throughout his life (all played by Steven Duffy).
Laurie Ventry is fantastic in the James McGonigal role, credited only as ‘The Biographer.’ David McKay’s Edwin is a lovable character, visually frail yet still energetic and youthful as he reminisces about days gone by and ponders that hard hitting question: could a person lead two utterly different lives without either self being aware of the other? We realise that this is exactly how Edwin Morgan lived: a quiet lifestyle to please his parents and a dangerous lifestyle of risk-taking and illegal love.
A production that is sometimes laugh out loud funny yet also touching and heart-warming, Edwin Morgan’s Dreams and Other Nightmares is an atmospheric and abstract piece, aided greatly by Dave Shea’s lighting design and Ross Brown’s haunting music, that gives one a sense of closure and a satisfying insight to Morgan’s life and the inspirations behind some of his most memorable work.
Runs until Saturday 2nd August