Christopher Reid’s The Song of Lunch comes to Edinburgh with Cold Feet star Robert Bathurst in the lead role, meaning that the spacious Pleasance Forth is easily filled to capacity. It was written shortly after Reid penned A Scattering and was intended as a light farce but turned out a little darker than first intended, making it a deliciously poetic piece of storytelling.
The Song of Lunch sees a man return to an old haunt for lunch with an old flame, as he navigates the streets of London to reach Zanzotti’s Italian Restaurant we are treated to a very funny analysis of life in the capital. When he reaches the eatery, he realises how much has changed in the years that have passed and that theme is continued with the arrival of his lunch date, played by Rebecca Johnson.
The writing is beautifully descriptive, liberally peppered with alliteration and bursting with poetic language. Bathurst describes “the waft of wealth” in one of his many frenzied and intense monologues, as he battles his internal flights of fancy. Both Bathurst and Johnson give outstanding performances, and despite the souring of the relationship on stage you can see a real chemistry in their delivery.
Good use is made of the space, with Bathurst running out in to the audience at one point. But it is the video projected animations from Charles Peattie that really bring the piece alive, they blend perfectly with the live action, and work entirely on their own, they are the visual feast which are as beautiful as the poetic main course.