The Guardian 1 September 2023

On the face of it, there is little overlap between the two new plays that complete the summer season in Pitlochry. Where Peter Arnott’s Group Portrait in a Summer Landscape is a large-cast contemplation of the political movements of the last century, Isla Cowan’s To the Bone is an intimate study of a three-way relationship tangled up in a rural cottage.

It is interesting to see how each playwright treats the highland Perthshire setting as a place for self-discovery. But the two plays are connected by more than location. Arnott and Cowan are both concerned with the debilitating hold the past can exert on the present. Where the characters in Group Portrait have become frozen in the thinking of the last century, the three characters in To the Bone have become ensnared by their history with their rural retreat. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).