His Majesty's Theatre
YOU can imagine a stage adaptation of Robin Jenkins's sublime 1955 novel turning out like Of Mice and Men. Set during the second world war on a remote Highland estate, it's about two brothers hired to gather pinecones for seed before the forest is felled. Like Steinbeck's Lennie, Callum is a child-like innocent with a love of nature who, arousing suspicion and ridicule, relies on the protection of a more worldly man – in this case, his brother Neil.
Arnott is also alive to the novel's vision of a ruling class no longer able to sustain its sense of superiority. John Kielty's Neil is an angry egalitarian, refusing to take orders from Jennifer Black's Lady Runcie-Campbell, a decent woman who is ill-equipped to deal with a changing social order.
While designer Hayden Griffin creates an illusion of the forest's enveloping darkness by projecting images on to rows of vertical ropes, director Kenny Ireland builds enough tension for the tragic ending to draw audible gasps.
© Mark Fisher, 2012 (picture Donald Stewart)
More coverage at theatreSCOTLAND.com
Sign up for theatreSCOTLAND updates
Sign up for theatreSCOTLAND discussion