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Mark Fisher
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Follow me @markffisher and @writeabouttheat I am an Edinburgh-based freelance journalist and critic specialising in theatre and the arts. Publications I write for include the Guardian, Scotland on Sunday and the Scotsman. I am the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide: how to make your show a success, published in February 2012 and How to Write About Theatre: A Manual for Critics, Students and Bloggers published in July 2015. From 2000-2003, I was the editor of The List magazine, Glasgow and Edinburgh's arts and events guide. See my website for more information and comprehensive Scottish theatre links.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Drawer Boy

**** Tron, Glasgow

© Mark Fisher

Andy Arnold begins his artistic directorship of the Tron where he left off in his old job - with stories. His swansong at Glasgow's Arches was a production of Tom Murphy's Bailegangaire in which two daughters crave the completion of their mother's favourite story so they can achieve resolution in their own lives. Now Arnold turns to Canadian writer Michael Healey's The Drawer Boy, a warm-hearted well-made play also about the way stories give us self-definition.

It's inspired by the occasion in 1972 when Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille ventured into rural Ontario to research a play called The Farm Show. Healey eases us in with a gentle mismatch comedy about a naive young actor, Miles, getting to grips with the life-and-death realities of country life. But his deeper purpose is to look at how the fiction of The Farm Show was able to articulate, for the farmers, a revelatory sense of their own experience.

He conveys this through two men whose relationship, like George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men, is one of mutual dependency. The stoical Morgan keeps his brain-damaged friend Angus on track by endlessly retelling their life story; Angus, in return, uses his undiminished mathematical skills to do the books. The story is interrupted by a third party, Miles, whose theatrical tales resonate more strongly with Angus as he searches for certainty in a troubled mental world.

Although the play is a little like one of those Canadian beers that boasts of having no aftertaste, it is beautifully observed and subtly constructed in its journey from comedy to pathos. Above all, it is exquisitely acted by Brian Ferguson, Benny Young and Brian Pettifer, and promises more powerful stories to come under Arnold's regime.

· Until May 24. Box office: 0141-552 4267.

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