And No More Shall We Part at the Traverse Theatre is the European premiere for Tom Holloway’s new play that oozes brilliance and subtlety as it gently explores what it means to be at the end of life. The play is superbly performed by Bill Paterson and Dearbhla Molloy as Don and Pam, a couple who have spent a lifetime together and are on the brink of losing each other.
Pam receives the news that after three years of treating cancer, it has become terminal. Rather than waiting out her days, she decides on her own exit strategy. The story weaves between the her final hours and the decision-making moments leading up to it. She is ever calm and decisive, even when her husband demands, pleads, and begs her not to leave him.
Both Molloy and Paterson give performances worthy of the lines Holloway has given them. They rely on the miniscule details of a look or a tone of voice that only a partner of a lifetime would comprehend intimately. They are satisfyingly painful to watch as they move through a tragedy of loss. There were many tears in the audience by the end.
The production and lighting design (Hannah Clark and Guy Hoare, respectively) are just as subtle as the performances and complement the emotional atmosphere beautifully. The stage contains only the bare minimum, a bedroom and a dining room with neither frills nor walls, but it’s just enough to enhance the performance calibre that helps set this play high above the average fare at the Fringe.