Review: The Straw Chair

'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC
Photograph: 'Theatre', Jeffrey Smith / CC

Genre: Historical drama

Venue: Tron Theatre Glasgow

Website: The Straw Chair

Presented by: Borderline Theatre Company and Hirtle Productions

Written by: Sue Glover

Directed by: Liz Carruthers


A minister and his new 17 year old wife arrive on the remote scottish island of Hirta to spread the word of God. Here they encounter a woman who was banished to the island six years earlier. Using a mix of the Gaelic and English language, the play explores freedom, marriage, female empowerment, and life on such a secluded land.


‘The Straw Chair’ is based upon the story of a true historical figure of Lady Rachel Grange and her banishment to a secluded island by her husband after their divorce. Lady Grange was ahead of her time and did not act as women were told they should in the 18th century. For this she was left upon an island that drove her half mad with it’s isolation and total contrast to the Edinburgh life she had known.

The island is spoken about a lot within the script however the beauty, and isolation is not portrayed in a way that creates a visualization of it in any way. The same could be said of the inhabitants, their characters only seeming buy neurontin online us pharmacy skin deep. Only Lady Grange has any real depth to her although she is treated more as a joke than the tragic figure she is, even the slighter darker moments are overshadowed by the unnecessary humour used throughout.

There are some great comic lines which are performed brilliantly by Selina Boyack, who plays Lady Grange. With tighter direction I feel Boyack could have given an even more magnificent portrayal of the strong willed, self-assured rebel of her time however the script is dull in parts and lacks the depth required to bring out depth of performance. The acting often feels staged and unnatural, as do the conversations, particularly those between minister Aneas and his young bride Isabelle. Their relationship, while arcs through the script, left me feeling cold and apathetic.

It is at times unclear as to whose story it is supposed to be. The central theme appears to be the relationship between Aneas and Isabelle and yet the script is focused mainly on the story of Lady Grange.

 All of the necessary components are evident within the performance however overall I found it lacking and forgettable which is a shame given the interesting historical basis for the story.


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Christine Lawler 42 Articles
Christine has a passion for literature and has been a closeted writer since childhood. Other passions include theatre, film, and all things geeky. She lives in Glasgow with a cat named Molls and a tortoise named Haruki Kabuki.

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