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Benny Ainsworth, Sally Paffett and Michael Parker in Scattered. Photo: Keir Siewert Benny Ainsworth, Sally Paffett and Michael Parker in Scattered. Photo: Keir Siewert
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In this short, devised play from fledgling company Triptych Theatre, estranged twins Jake and Nicky are reunited on the death of their father. For this less than harmonious pair of siblings, his death is more of an inconvenience than a cause for deep mourning, but the arrival of a hitherto unknown step-brother and some unconventional clauses in the will force them to address long held resentments.

Tackling issues of practically soap-operatic proportions, Scattered crafts this tight family feud into a neatly edited comedy-drama. The dialogue is refreshingly light yet manages to deliver a sympathetic portrayal of the grieving process and if the final scene occasionally veers misguidedly toward farce, it recovers remarkably well. Tim Sandifer’s direction is supremely confident but it does occasionally appear as if the drama is being squeezed into the time slot and early scenes have lost some of their integrity to this problem.

Michael Parker as Jake and Sally Paffett as Nicky are thoroughly convincing as the middle-class brother and sister, psychologically stunted by the early breakdown of their parents marriage. Benny Ainsworth completes the cast as step-brother Sam, the perfect catalyst to progress the story and yet integral enough to bring a new dimension to the drama.

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Confident performances, fluid dialogue and resonant themes are hampered by too tight a time slot
Paul Vale
Paul has been writing for The Stage since 1998 as a critic and feature writer. He is also part of The Stage's Edinburgh Fringe review team.