Dyl review – flatshare comedy about facing up to fatherhood

James (Scott Arthur) has exiled himself from his Welsh family, including his baby daughter Dyl and her mother Steph (Rose Wardlaw). To the consternation of his mother, Wendy (Joyce Greenaway), he’s moved to Aberdeen where he works on an oil rig, spending part of the month sharing a flat with Ryan (Laurie Jamieson), who has bathroom cleanliness issues.

They are an odd couple, but gradually Ryan encourages uptight James out of his shell. However, for James to really break free he is going to have to stop punishing himself for past mistakes and face up to the future as both a father and a son.

Actor Mark Weinman’s debut play begins as a mildly amusing flatshare comedy but meanders on for two and half hours withholding crucial information, leaking tension and offering implausible plot devices before tying everything up with a dramatic bow.

Sparky … James watches as his mum Wendy (Joyce Greenaway) meets the untidy Ryan. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

The banter is sparky enough, but what this play needs is several more drafts, a leaner, cleaner structure and brutal excising of much of the more inconsequential dialogue. Clive Judd’s production does very little to help with its outsized pauses and inter-scene interludes that simply drag the evening out.

There’s consistently heroic work from the talented cast, and there’s no doubt that inside this baggy, frustrating evening there is a fascinating play about guilt, emotional maturity, fatherhood and boys becoming men.

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