Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Three people, three generations, three relationships. But only one is working.
It’s Hogmanay in the Highlands. Nowhere else celebrates the passing of the old and the coming of the new with quite the fervour and respect for tradition than Highlanders. It’s a time for second chances and the gathering of families that live in distant parts. But tradition mutates and what was once pertinent becomes less so with the passage of time.
The Recovery Version is a poignant, yet heart-warming, all-male tale of growing up, of long nursed familial hates bobbing around in a sea of whisky-fuelled banter as three dysfunctional generations explore how they reached this point of apparent impasse.
Jonny is, or was, a musician but a failed career and marriage leaves him spending his retirement contemplating just what might have been in a wee cottage up in Glencoe. Never a man to embrace technology for its own sake, he lives a quiet life in a manner that will be familiar to anyone with a knowledge of this remote part of our island. John, his son, has a similar string of failures to his name, including one failed marriage, another on the rocks and a seeming inability to sustain a relationship of meaning with anyone, including his own son, Jack.
Fisher is Jonny’s neighbour in the glen and his former roadie who has had tragedy rather thrust upon him, yet has bounced back from the depths of despair and, with the twelve year old Jack, represents hope in the shape of reconciliation and a brighter future for all.
It’s a nicely conceived, observational piece of theatre that is well acted, even if it does lose direction about two thirds of the way through the eighty minutes for which it runs. There is a good smattering of wit amongst the pathos of the relationships that are unpicked along the way. Scots has always been a colourful language with rich sounds to describe prosaic functions and Ilona Munro deploys just enough light-hearted banter to prevent the piece becoming overly dystopian.
But as the ring of the Hogmanay bells dies away, so the alcohol imbibed in their honour loosens the tongues and long-buried grievances explode like the fireworks that herald the New Year.