Clare Sinclair reviews the latest Tron production.
For a parent, there can be nothing worse than surviving a child; often this premise, full of emotion, finds its way into the world of the theatre. J.C. Marshall’s Plume, brought by Tron Theatre Company, focuses on a father’s struggle to cope without just-retribution for his son’s death.
Years earlier, Maller (Gemma McElhinney) was saved by her teacher, Mr Peters (Sylvester McCoy), when she was stung by a bee. Maller now finds herself trying to return the favour as Peters teeters on a window ledge, determined to end his life as an act of political rebellion. As she tries to talk him down, we flashback to his life with his son William (Finn Den Hertog—who also plays multiple roles) before a plane he is travelling in is blown up.
It can’t be denied that Plume is a play full of relevance – particularly with the Lockerbie disaster still in the forefront of many minds. It is just unfortunate that the piece hasn’t been developed beyond a one act play. With such a striking story to tell, the production feels as though it crashes to a halt rather than ends, as though a time limit was achieved, and as such the audience gets very little sense of completion.
Yet Plume does have pockets of brilliance – Andy Arnold’s direction ensures that every inch of Kenny Miller’s tidy yet functional design works seamlessly. A seemingly innocuous space turns into a plane crash site; a school playground; a hotel hallway – all without difficulty. And although the well-known McCoy conveys some touching moments of grief and heartbreak, it is Den Hertog who holds the performance together, leading the story through to its untimely conclusion.
Plume performs at the Tron until March 17.