THE MIDDLE O’ NOWHERE: A BOTHY HAUNTING – DUNDEE REP THEATRE
After four runs of his play The Berries and two of The Scaffies, Dundee’s playwriting treasure Gary Robertson is back with a third original piece, this one concerned with a group of mismatched people who find themselves spending the night in a remote Highland bothy while a gale blows outside and a mysterious, ghostly woman hovers just out of sight.
Like a kind of Dundonian Blair Witch Project, this is largely a character piece whose scares come from the sinister and uncanny being placed alongside the ordinary and everyday. In this case, what with it being one of Robertson’s play, there’s a real and unforced sense of humour to the character’s interactions, even if they sometimes lapse into stereotype to get the gags across.
Kevy Parr, Steve Merton and Robertson himself are Andy, Sandy and Wullie, three ordinary, wise-cracking blokes from Dundee, who are accompanied on a hiking trip by their late friend’s daughter Shona (Eilidh Robertson), a karate black belt – although we never see her doing any martial arts – who gives as good as she gets with the lads’ crude but good-natured banter.
The quartet are joined by healthy and impossibly cheerful teacher and Herbalife saleswoman Heather (Chloe Anderson), and Edinburgh University geology professors Phil (Alan Christison) and Pete (Kenny Cathro). As a character Phil gives almost as good as he gets, but there’s something a little simplistic about his being English meaning he has to be a posh, arrogant Tory with no redeeming features.
That would be the only real complaint about a show which is otherwise well put-together, from the evocative bothy set to the eerie supernatural sequences – the director is Robertson’s wife Sue – and the fact that even with such a large cast, all the characters are made use of and given something to do. The humour is raw but quick, the characters are regular and relatable, and audiences who might not usually go near a theatre will flock to Robertson’s show once more.
The Middle O’ Nowhere: A Bothy Haunting runs until Saturday, February 9. Tickets can be purchased from the Dundee Rep online, at the theatre’s Box Office or by calling 01382 223 530.