Theatre review: Green & Blue, Summerhall, Edinburgh

THERE IS no overt mention of Brexit or of any aspect of current politics in Laurence McKeown’s 2016 play for the Kabosh company of Belfast; it is set 25 years ago, in 1994, when Britain’s complete departure from the EU would have seemed unthinkable.

Green & Blue, Summerhall (Venue 26)

Green & Blue, Summerhall, Edinburgh * * * *

Yet in its supremely quiet way, it represents an indictment of the current situation so searing that it’s difficult not to weep, as the action moves towards its tragic and thoughtful conclusion.

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Green & Blue is a two-handed drama about the working relationship between two policeman, Eddie and David, who work on either side of the Irish border, for the Garda Siochana and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Because of their jobs, both are targets for violence from the other side of the border, and for some in the community on their own side. Both have seen colleagues and others die in ways on which they do not like to dwell; and although they communicate mainly by walkie-talkie radio, a bond of understanding begins to develop between them, which finally leads to an ill-fated meeting.

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Paula McFetridge’s production, backed by powerful images of the now much-debated border itself as it winds invisibly through fields and roadways, is unfailingly understated; McKeown’s script both subtle and rigorous in evoking the different lives and personalities of the two men, exquisitely played by James Doran and Vincent Higgins. And the final message, completely unstated, could not be clearer: that this low-level war was a human tragedy, brought to an end by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998; and that the moment that border is reinstated, in any physical form, those who provoked that situation will be profoundly responsible for the fact that once again, men like Dave and Eddie will be targets, as the visible representatives of a divide that should never have been allowed to reappear, in our time.

Until 25 August

Joyce McMillan