Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Drift review at Lemon Tree, Aberdeen – ‘eloquent exploration of identity’

Hannah Lavery in The Drift at Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. Photo: Beth Chalmers

Hannah Lavery’s dad died in 2014. He was a Hibs fan – the product of a sprawling lineage that stretched from West Africa, to Jamaica, to Myanmar, to Edinburgh – and an absent father.

The Drift is Lavery’s lyrical attempt to comprehend the complicated inheritance he left her. It’s part family history, part personal memory play, and part pondering of what it means to be mixed-race in Scotland, then and now.

Lavery is predominantly a poet by trade, and her writing is rich with unforced imagery and empathy. “I’m a limpet stuck on ye,” she says of her relationship with her mother country. Her dad’s family, she quotes her auntie, are “migrants of migrants of migrants”.

There’s grit here, too, in the lists of everyday racist aggressions she experiences, both micro and macro, and in her casual, coarse humour. “Fuck you, my sweet, forgetful Caledonia,” she whispers, after deftly delineating Scotland’s involvement in the slavery trade that took her paternal ancestors from Africa in the first place.

She’s a subtle, supple performer, with a lovely stop-start spontaneity on stage, and she’s superbly supported in Eve Nicol’s production – an understated affair, designed by Kirsty Currie and evocatively illuminated by Benny Goodman’s dusky lighting. Projections periodically appear on the curtain. A chair, unoccupied throughout, sits starkly to one side of the stage – a potent stand-in for Lavery’s late father.

It’s quiet and calm throughout – gentle, almost – but underneath The Drift asks deafening questions. An eloquent exploration of identity in contemporary Scotland.

Want to continue reading?
Support The Stage with a subscription

We believe in fair pay for everyone who works in the arts, and that includes all our journalists and the whole team who create The Stage each week.

As a family-run, independently-owned publication, we rely on our readers' subscriptions to pay journalists to produce the informed and in-depth articles you want to read.

The Stage will always strive to report on great work across the country, champion new talent and publish impartial investigative journalism. Our independence allows us to deliver unbiased reporting that supports the performing arts industry, but we can only do this with your help.

Continue reading our quality content and support its creation with a subscription from just £4.49 →
Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Understated but eloquent solo show exploring identity in contemporary Scotland