Terminal, the new and original comedy drama written by Aberdeen-born Adam Coutts, manages to be at once heart-rending and hilarious. Lawrence (Russell Dudley) has a brain tumour and six months to live: Fiona (Rosalind Watt) is pregnant and coming to terms with losing her partner. Staged in the intimate Barron Theatre, with a cast of two, the play follows a young couple as their lives are turned upside down.
The play opens with a whirlwind “catch-up” rendition of the young couple’s relationship so far. Reminiscent of an animated cartoon – we are whisked from the night-out when they first met, to moving-in day and, in an instant, to the midst of an intense conversation, where Fiona finds out that Laurence is terminally ill.
The forty minutes that ensue maintain this rhythmic sense of time passing. Conversations are had, days are spent and each moment is punctuated by a choreographed transition – spinning, turning, revolving – onto the next piece of the story. The set is simple, and the staging effective. Chairs become dumb actors – rearranged side by side, back to back, facing each other – every position a reflection of feelings of both closeness and alienation, that become hard to express.
The actors reflect this perfectly, passing seamlessly from light-hearted joking to wistful speechlessness, which is however greatly aided by the “Tumours for Dummies” style self-help guide, a hilarious but actually necessary conversation starter for the couple.
The cadence of the piece propels the action forward to what is a somewhat inevitable conclusion, or so you might think. As Lawrence steps out into the kitchen, Fiona steps backs in, washing basket in hand. We’re unaware that time has passed until an item of clothing – baby-sized, gets folded and put away. One minute Lawrence is there, the next he’s gone. An apt representation of the experience of losing someone close to you.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and poignant exploration of love and the anticipation of loss. ‘Terminal’ stages its second and final performance at the Barron Theatre, this evening, 8th April. Don’t miss your chance to see this impressive piece of St Andrews theatrical talent. Tickets are available at The Byre Website