Somewhere in a former Soviet-block country, on a cold night in the middle of nowhere (but near a lake), two dignitaries stumble into a hotel room and attempt to conduct an affair. One is a scientist, the other is a political powerbroker, and they have been lusting for each other for some time. Their hopes for a quick fumble are derailed by numerous conversational, environmental and personal digressions.
Kyoto is the first of a five-part series at Oran Mor that will see a production spend a week in Glasgow before transferring to the Traverse in Edinburgh. And the talent is truly present for this inaugural production, with noted Scottish playwright David Greig serving as writer, the Traverse’s own artistic director Dominic Hill directing and starring Matthew Pidgeon and Vicki Liddelle, two well-experience actors.
All this for a piece that is best described as a pleasant 30-minute frolic. Don’t get me wrong: Kyoto is a very enjoyable experience. It has witty lines, two interesting characters and sharp direction that is much more accomplished than it first appears. But with such high talent involved, one hopes for a theatrical experience that’s elevated above something that feels straight out of a sitcom.
Expectations are a tricky thing. They can certainly make one ‘expect’ something greater than what the artists intended. And at 30 minutes, there’s only so much that can be done. It’s a pity, because there are hints at a greater, deeper production than the one presented.
Kyoto is a polished piece of short theatre, but it is one that is performed with great irony: it is nothing more than the theatrical equivalent to the very quick romp that the characters themselves are trying to conduct.
Playing at Oran Mor until March 14, then at the Traverse from March 17-21.