The Last Yankee is being presented by Rapture Theatre as part of their celebration of the centenary of the birth of Arthur Miller, and also as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.
This short play is set over the course of a few hours in a “state institution”, where Patricia Hamilton and Karen Frick are both inpatients suffering from depression, and explores the relationship between the women and their respective husbands and between each other, with Karen being newly admitted and Patricia heading for recovery.
The four main roles of Leroy and Patricia Hamilton (David Tarkenter and Pauline Turner) and John and Karen Frick (Stewart Porter and Jane McGarry) are all perfectly played, in what must be a fairly demanding play with very little “action” but plenty of speech and emotion. The discussions between the two men in particular are very telling about attitudes to mental illness and trying to find a reason for why their wives are depressed, and also about their own attitudes to each other and the pursuit (or not) of the “American Dream”.
The Last Yankee manages to be moving and powerful, whilst also having some elements of humour. Having worked in Mental Health for some years, I can attest that it is also very realistic and true to life.
The Last Yankee continues on tour throughout Scotland, and will be back locally at The Brunton in Musselburgh on 23rd October and Howden Park in Livingston on 29th October.
Full details can be found at www.rapturetheatre.co.uk
Review by Lisa Sibbald