Review: My Father's Suit

My Father?s Suit by Peter McDougall

A son receives a visit from his father and mother. A normal thing to happen. The difference is that both of them are dead. Peter McDougall cleverly makes use of an imaginary mirror to show the relationships within a Scottish family and most of the conversation between the characters takes place with the mirror creating a barrier between them.

Ken Drury is the father, a great guy with his mates in the pub, but a selfish bully to his wife and son. The problem is he was unaware that his behaviour was anything other than normal. Basically he is a carbon copy of his own father.

The mother is played by Linda Duncan McLaughlin and is shown to be a doormat, bitter and resentful of her role in life but doing nothing to change the situation. She had formed a close bond with her son, totally shutting out her husband.

She speaks of the boy?s first day at school when she left him tearful, then goes on to recall the day when the son left her at the old folk?s home and she was the one who cried.

Billy MacBain is the son, taking his mother?s side against the father who mocks him as a weakling. As a positive role model the dad is a failure yet there is a feeling that the boy may very well follow in his footsteps ? wear his suit although he feels it restrictive and frustrating. He knows nothing else.

The play is an excellent illustration of the damage that can be done within a family where no-one communicates their feelings. The Scottish male characteristics are inbred and cannot be changed, the woman?s part is to suffer in silence.

In the end it appears that everyone gets what they expect or deserve.

All three actors were brilliant in their roles and the prolific writer has notched up another success.

C. Byrne