Theatre review: Breaking the Ice

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Set in a remote Alaskan town where an international body called the Arctic Council is meeting, the play features a troubled morning in the life of chief UK government scientist Frank, who finds himself

wandering the snowy streets in his hotel bathrobe, while various local figures – from the town sheriff to a pair of green activists who specialise in

kidnapping – offer him advice on the environmental issues his speech is supposed to address.

Breaking the Ice ***

Oran Mor, Glasgow

The striking feature of Lynn’s play is just how brilliantly it constructs the farcical outline of the story, and develops the character of Frank, and how awkwardly it handles the speeches delivered by the people Frank encounters, which seem heavy on half-digested factual information, and are poorly integrated into the 
drama. Yet despite its uneven texture, the play delivers a performance to remember from McNicoll, along with some powerful comic cameos from Jimmy Chisholm and Nicola Roy, in support; as well as a sharp reminder of an issue too easy to ignore, but now shaping our future with a pressure as insistent as the drip-drip of melting ice Frank can’t help hearing, whenever he pauses for thought.

Traverse, Edinburgh, 4-8 October