Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Sunday Times review
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Scenes from the Big Picture

by Owen McCafferty

Cottesloe, National

Review by John Peter, The Sunday Times, 12 April 2003

The title gives a clue. Owen McCafferty’s new play is a series of crisscrossing episodes. The scene is Belfast. Several tales are told, of several lives, and they crisscross one another, much as, in a small town, you keep coming across the same people. A birth and a funeral, a booze-up and a knee-capping, a cover-up and a discovery, lust, loss, hope, anger, grief, tenacity, old age, young fury. McCafferty has a vitriolic gift for the hurt and excitement of language, the smell and texture of casual intimacies. His people are simple and devious, brutal, vulnerable, nostalgic. The play has a cast of 21, and it achieves a sense of textured life in which each thread is individual but has a shared existence. Peter Gill’s masterful production is like a complicated dance in which every step is clear and distinct. I can think of no other director who can organise broken and fragmented miniatures into a single great fresco of life with such precision, generosity and sensitivity. As in life, the stories do not quite end, and at the close, the stars come out and look down with their usual indifference. This production is a magnificent start for the Hytner regime.

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