Spoiling @ Traverse Theatre

Review by Leonie Walters | 18 Aug 2014
  • Spoiling @ Traverse

Even though Traverse Theatre Company's Spoiling looks forward to Scottish politics after September’s independence referendum, the political comedy has a nostalgic feel. For its humorous moments, it relies on simpler times when pregnant women didn't swear, politicians seemed incongruous with teacakes and pregnant politicians didn't eat teacakes while swearing.

Thankfully, Spoiling does not shy away from less reassuring matters either. Their personal entanglement in Northern Irish politics and Scotland's working-class struggles give the characters more depth and allows for their dynamics to be uncomfortable at times. Leaving central questions unresolved is not beyond writer John McCann, but when there is tension between the two characters it mainly serves to underline the Foreign Minister’s belief that in these spin doctored times, there's nothing quite like saying it like it is.

It is to Gabriel Quigley's credit that she infuses the role of Scotland's Foreign Minister with real humour and warmth, and bringing a subtlety to her physical comedy. Apart from the swearing, her portrayal of a politician is more West Wing than The Thick of It, and her decisive, down to earth charm finds its zenith in a rowdily rhythmic homage to the people of Scotland. If Quigley's Minister were to run a future independent Scotland, no one would need to worry about matters like the EU or the economy. She'd sort everything right out.

Traverse Theatre Company: Spoiling, Traverse, until 24 Aug, time vary, £18 (£15) http://www.traverse.co.uk