The Divide, Parts I & II (Kings Theatre, Edinburgh)
Verdict: Far, far too long
There’s a lot to like, but much — so much! — more to lament in Alan Ayckbourn’s interminable six-hour epic which was meant to have been the jewel in the crown of the Edinburgh International Festival.
Best known for his suburban farces, 78-year-old Ayckbourn has relaunched himself as a late-onset writer of dystopian fantasy.
His new two-part story recalls Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale and is about a puritanical society 100 years hence where, following a plague, men and women have been segregated.
Heterosexual relations are banned, and citizens are governed by a Biblical tome called the Book of Certitude. The plot focuses on a boy (Jake Davies), who is a talented artist; and his little sister (Erin Doherty), who wants to write like Charlotte Bronte.
The Divide is an extraordinary new work by one of the UK's greatest storytellers, Alan