Daniel the Daniel
Oran Mor, Glasgow City
Four Sterne Stars
For this summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – for which the lunchtime run at A Show, A Pie and a Pint this week is an early run – IF Isabel Wright’s latest one-man play is not already booked, then it will certainly be part of the 2021 schedule.
This play by Paul Brotherston, whose big hit Pride and Prejudice is still running (sort of) on the lane, is directed by the playwright, who has written shows for Boilerhouse, Frantic Assembly, 7:84 and Traverse Theater. For Edinburgh’s Jack Tarlton, these seasoned hands have built a cleverly designed vehicle, immediately identifiable from his television work, even though his stage work has mostly been south of the border.
As Daniel himself, the title role takes him back home, visiting his elderly father and avoiding his responsibilities in Greater London. We first see him on the floor of a bathroom on the northbound train with his trousers around his knees, and his story will also carry us to the top of Arthur’s Seat, as well as to numerous other locations in both capitals. He also introduces us to his “manic pixie dream girl,” Katie Watkins, in addition to his father and his missing dog, whom he knows is the love of his life but can not find the words to say her, like all Scottish men. It takes a while to show itself in the family tragedy that left him speechless.
An aspiring filmmaker, alongside the chapter headings of his monologue, Daniel’s “snippets” of photos are projected into the back of the stage, while the sound design adds its own punctuation, starting with Totally Wired by The Fall. The text of Wright is full of clever and zeitgeisty lines-“There are too many eyes in this room”; “Whatever love is, I’m in it”-but often over-explains itself to a Scottish audience, confirming that, as is mentioned by Trainspotting and Irn Bru’s heroic consumption, a tourist audience is part of the plan. That the show is entirely more moving than its commercial pretensions suggest is due to the persuasive performance of Tarlton,