Southpaw Productions present their Fringe Debut, ‘The Greenhouse’. Set in a Scottish flat littered with rizlas, grinders and empty beer cans we find our leading man, Gordon, disillusioned and depressed at what his life has become. But when a customer overdoses in the flat with a psychotic drug dealer up the stairs and a Jehovah’s Witness at the door, the play takes a sharp turn into almost slap-stick comedy territory. These bright-eyed acting graduates of Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret Universities take their first steps into the professional acting world with this production and they have put their best foot forward. This is the first play Lewis McCutcheon has ever written and it is a great success.
Although the Trainspotting-esque narrative has been a tad overused in recent years and the idea of young men wasting their lives high and indifferent can become tedious, I would still highly recommend. This play (unlike the others) has a strong, talented cast and a more grounded message. McCutcheon taps into everyone’s period of being stuck in a rut, ensuring us that we are not alone and reaffirming the belief that at any moment we can change our life for the better. Even if it takes a dead junkie in our bathroom to kick us into gear.
All the characters are refreshingly likable. Instead of a sex-crazed roommate always talking about ‘bangin’ birds’, we have Paul, a man on the search for love. Played by Blair Flucker, Paul is sensitive but not the best at thinking under pressure. With Flucker’s exceptional comic timing, he ensures the biggest laughs. Everyone in Scotland knows a Foxy; a druggie who can ‘sell a fur coat in the height of summer.’ Adam Patterson manages to physically embody the role through perfectly chosen nervous mannerisms and gruff tone of voice which is incredibly impressive. McCutcheon also stars as the mentally deranged drug dealer, Benjy. McCutcheon’s imposing confidence produces a standout performance as he dominates the space with a quiet menace.
McCutcheon manages to incorporate a relatable romantic sub-plot between our protagonist Gordon, played by Ross Newton, and his girlfriend Stella. Stella is not the token nagging girlfriend that is quite typical of this heavily masculine genre. Played by Anna Vanosi, Stella’s message of growth is surprisingly treated with respect and emotional maturity. Although Gordon and herself are ‘two broken people’, she longs to heal and move forward with or without him. Vanosi perfectly balances her fiery temperament with a sensitive disposition ensuring the audience is on her side. A romance, at times poignant, I’m sure will resonate with the target audience.
If you like darkly, twisted comedy featuring drugs, love and dead bodies, look no further!