The Letter of Last Resort /Good With People, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh


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The Independent Culture

Two fine short plays set in the shadow of the low-level nuclear threat by leading Scottish playwrights David Greig and David Harrower prove a shining gem in this year's Traverse programme.

Harrower’s Good With People brings together a small town hotelier (Blythe Duff) and a Red Cross worker (Richard Rankin) who is returning from the Middle East to the naval base of Helensburgh near Glasgow.

The hotelier’s son, the veteran’s friend, was the victim of a bullying attack many years previously, and this incident has blighted their shared emotional landscape.

But with the social healing of renewed marriage vows by the veteran’s parents, the host and her guest find a way round their differences and work towards new understanding and even something deeper than that. It’s a lovely, lyrical play that takes its time but earns its keep.

Greig’s The Letter of Last Resort , in which a new Prime Minister (Belinda Lang) is instructed by a sardonically deferential civil servant (Simon Chandler) in the   procedure triggered by a theoretical nuclear attack, was first seen in the Tricycle’s THE BOMB – A Partial History earlier this year. It stands up well -- sharp, funny and scary -- in Nicolas Kent’s beautifully acted production.

To 26 August (0131 228 1404)