Scotland reviews 31 items
Ulster American at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Ulster American is an extraordinary piece of theatre.

At the entrance to the auditorium we are warned that the production contains graphic violence and extreme language and yet, while writer David Ireland’s script deals with so much that is wrong in today’s world, it is the funniest hour and a half I have spent for a long time!

I say this without feeling perverted or guilty. Yes, the humour is dark, but so wonderfully written and acted that, while at times I sat open-mouthed at what was happening, mostly I was guffawing with the rest of the audience. It’s like Quentin Tarantino crossed with Victoria Wood.

In the hands of RSC and National Theatre regular Darrell D’Silva, Robert Jack and Lucianne McEvoy, award-winning writer David Ireland’s masterpiece is an assault on the senses.

The action takes place in director Leigh Carver’s London flat where he is joined by Oscar-winning actor Jay Conway and writer Ruth Davenport to discuss a new play which connects Conway with his Irish roots.

Both Carver and Davenport are somewhat in awe of the actor but when Conway starts questioning the script, boundaries are crossed and the heated discussion leads to a violent climax – though, through the beauty of the writing, the final line is priceless and has us going home laughing!

D’Silva should indeed win an Oscar for his gripping portrayal of the American actor. He is like a chameleon, yet throughout even the worst scenarios still makes us laugh. His is a strong character, in sharp contrast to Jack’s Carver, at first in awe of Conway and frightened of crossing him. You can imagine him having a limp, wet handshake!

Then, into the mix comes McEvoy, who is a force of nature as the fiery playwright, again in awe of Conway until her script is compromised and that’s when the fireworks start exploding. It’s wonderful to watch these three bouncing off each other, and director Gareth Nicholls should be proud of what they have all achieved.

Confrontational yet brutally funny, this is a satisfying must-see.
Ulster American is at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh until March 2.
Box Office: 0131 228 1404
Photo: Sid Scott