History has a habit of repeating itself, so it comes as no surprise that Ena Lamont Stewart’s 1947 play Men Should Weep feels more prevalent than ever within our current economic climate. The tenements of Glasgow might not be as cramped as during the 30s Depression, but the comparisons are easily drawn.
Colin Richmond’s set gives real character to the latest offering from the National Theatre of Scotland: a snapshot into the past as the Morrison family struggle to make ends meet. Graham McLaren’s evocative direction brings a sense of relevance to this family’s difficulties.
This is a sensitive look at patriarchal responsibilities, and Michael Nardone as John gives a stellar performance as we see his struggle to provide for his family. His chemistry with Lorraine M Mcintosh’s Maggie is tender – set off perfectly against the backdrop of neighbourly domestic abuse – making the Morrisons’ descent into familial turbulence all the more harrowing.
This is undoubtedly a slick performance from the NTS, playing to the texts’ Scottish humour but fails to make any real contemporary impact. The strong ensemble cast work hard, but Men Should Weep drips with such deep rooted history that although the premise is timeless, this period piece feels its age.