Stage set to Shine On You Crazy Di­a­mond

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FEATURE - BY JOYCE SUMMERS

Per­haps I ought to fess up from the start – I am a child of the 60s (no dates given!).

Flower power, The Bea­tles, free love, The Rolling Stones, Wood­stock and Pink Floyd all coloured my for­ma­tive years (my very YOUNG for­ma­tive years).

So to sit in Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree last night and hear Pink Floyd, the mu­sic of my youth, as a back­drop to new play, was a joy.

But it would be facile to say that the latest in the A Play, A Pie and A Pint series – One Thinks Of It All As A Dream – is sim­ply a joy; far from it, the play is un­ex­pected, un­com­fort­able, com­plex, witty and sad.

By play­wright Alan Bissett and di­rected by Sacha Kyle, the new work is about Pink Floyd’s doomed ge­nius, front­man and found­ing mem­ber Syd Bar­rett.

It is set in 1967, when the band had just re­leased their de­but al­bum, the psy­che­delic mas­ter­piece Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Syd’s be­hav­iour is be­com­ing more and more bizarre as he copes with drugs, adu­la­tion, delu­sion and fame.

Back then per­haps he was dis­missed as a psy­cho, weird or a drug­gie. I would like to think that more than 40 odd years on, the pub­lic un­der­stand­ing of men­tal health is­sues is much im­proved but I am not en­tirely con­vinced.

The au­di­ence wit­nesses the dis­in­te­gra­tion of a mu­si­cal ge­nius and pro­fes­sional suc­cess to the point where he is squeezed out of the band he in­spired and helped set up. And the psy­chol­o­gist in the piece asks the telling ques­tion: “How do you know it's Syd who has the prob­lem?”

The singer, song­writer, and painter, who quit the mu­sic in­dus­try in 1970 – just two years af­ter leav­ing Pink Floyd – died in 2006, at the age of 60.

The band went on to pro­duce The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, which be­came two of the best-sell­ing al­bums of all time, fol­lowed by two decades of ac­ri­mony and cre­ative ten­sion.

The four-strong cast of One Thinks Of It All As A Dream is headed by Euan Cuth­bert­son who gives an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance as the des­per­ate and vul­ner­a­ble Syd rac­ing to­wards an emo­tional cri­sis he can nei­ther an­tic­i­pate or un­der­stand.

He is su­perbly sup­ported on stage by An­drew John Tait, Ewan Petrie and David James Kirk­wood as fel­low band mem­bers Roger, Richard and Nick.

The play was spe­cially com­mis­sioned for the Scot­tish Men­tal Health Arts and Film Fes­ti­val and is pre­sented in as­so­ci­a­tion with Tra­verse Theatre and Aberdeen Per­form­ing Arts.

And it runs at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree un­til Satur­day, with Thurs­day and Satur­day mati­nees.

The next in the A Play, A Pie and A Pint series, Mov­ing Pic­tures by Phillip Dif­fer, opens on Tues­day, Novem­ber 29, and tells the story of a film fan who finds him­self caught up in a series of movie homages that threaten his san­ity and, more im­por­tantly, his pay packet.

One Thinks Of It All As A Dream tells the story of Pink Floyd’s doomed ge­nius, front­man and found­ing mem­ber Syd Bar­rett

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