Perfect Days by Liz Lochead and directed by Liz Carruthers is a play of its time: the biological clock as a topic of conversation was once very hot. In the Director’s cut for Perfect Days in the programme, Liz Carruthers confesses she was aware of it throughout her own thirties and had her first child aged forty-one. So one is not surprised by the wonderfully sympathetic tone of the production.
Perfect Days is also about obsession. What is it like to be obsessed by something to the extent that all pride and dignity are set aside by the compulsion to satisfy that obsession? And it’s about a lot of the other small things of life that make a complete personality. Mothers and daughters have their ups and downs, but there’s always time to resolve matters, isn’t there? When we are THE ONE helping with something, we deeply resent anyone else muscling in, don’t we?
And Perfect Days is about language. Sharp Glasgow patter updated to encompass the passage of time since the play made its first appearance.
Everyone adores Barbs, the celebrity hairdresser, and wants a share of her – their share. Her perfect cleaner (Mum), her perfect ex, Davie, her perfect friend, Alice, employee, Brendan and lover, Grant. Barbs wants a baby. She doesn’t want to go on living her perfect life as it’s seen by these others, without that tiny person.
One of the most powerful scenes in the play is Barbs’ attempt to make her mother understand the depth of her longing for the unknown baby. Why won’t her mother agree that single mums can do a good job – didn’t she?
It’s a gleeful celebration of modern urban life and the new family realities. A strong cast, wonderful set and sympathetic direction made the whole production an entertaining and thought-provoking afternoon. Truly worth catching, if you can.
Run, in rep, at Pitlochry Festival Theatre till Thursday 16th October 2014 at 8pm.