The Fifth Step

Part of the Edinburgh International Festival 2024.


David Ireland’s latest collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland tells a complex story about men, intimacy and our belief systems.

David Ireland’s latest work is a grimly comic play that explores the difficult journey to sobriety. This 'daring dramatist' (The Guardian) is best known for his award-winning provocative plays, Cyprus Avenue and Ulster American.

The Fifth Step features Scottish actor Jack Lowden as Luka, nominated for BAFTAs in both 2020 as a Rising Star and in 2023 for Best Supporting Actor in thriller series Slow Horses. Luka has recently joined Alcoholics Anonymous and is searching for a sponsor. He finds James, an older man who has been in the programme for years. From the outset, James looks like the ideal man to shepherd Luka through each of the twelve steps. However, the road to recovery isn’t that simple, and will force both Luka and James to closely examine their pasts and face their own transgressions.

The National Theatre of Scotland returns to the International Festival following 2023's Thrown, hailed as a 'beautifully-crafted production' (The Scotsman).

Lowden has a leading man’s charisma

The Telegraph