Based on Gogol’s famous short play, Al Smith sets his thoughtful and intelligently crafted version of Diary of a Madman to present day Scotland.
Following Pop Sheeran, third generation painter of the Forth Road Bridge, and his family in South Queenferry in a post-referendum Scotland, the audience are given a startling insight into an ordinary man’s unravelling triggered by the impending feeling of the erasure of history.
Liam Brennan plays Pop with a commanding subtlety in the first half, before descending into heartbreaking desperation as he unravels in the second half. Snappy dialogue from his daughter Sophie and her best friend Mel balance out the play, while their youthful view on politics adds an interesting contrast to Pop’s uneducated yet passionate patriotism.
In a time when Scotland’s identity is at question, this revamp of Diary of a Madman provides an intriguing take on the current state of uncertainty felt by many.
Words: Chiara Margiotta
Picture: Iona Firouzabadi
Diary of a Madman, Traverse Theatre, Aug 4-28, times vary