WE dismiss the short play at our peril. After all, most of the dramatic works of Samuel Beckett (who was, to my mind, the greatest playwright of the 20th century), are very short indeed.

Ever since it was established by the late, great David MacLennan back in 2004, Glasgow’s lunchtime theatre A Play, A Pie And A Pint (PPP) has been churning out new, hour-long stage works on an industrial scale (making it, by a distance, Scotland’s most prodigious producer of new plays).

As one would expect, some of the plays are enjoyable, but unmemorable, others are, frankly, disposable.

However, a surprisingly large number of the dramas are works of real emotional resonance and lasting significance. The current season is certainly no exception.

READ MORE: Autumn reads: Scottish independent bookstores offer up reading guides

Hot on the heels of the excellent musical Forever Home by Pauline Lockhart and Alan Penman, the Glasgow theatre producer (in a co-presentation with the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, where it played last week) brings us Douglas Maxwell’s brilliantly observed drama The Sheriff of Kalamaki.

Set, as its title attests, in the resort town of the Greek island of Zakynthos, the play combines superbly written, thoughtful monologues and sharp, persuasive dialogue to tell the stories of Scottish brothers Dion and Ally.

First up is Dion, the titular “sheriff”, who is played with a combination of wide-as-a-barn-door likeability, sympathetic brokenness and unlikely charisma by the fabulous Paul McCole.

Dion (the sparkly, celebrity-style name he has assumed during his years in Kalamaki) is, to all intents and purposes, down and out. The resort town might be derided widely as a “shithole”, but, from his vantage point, high above the town, it is a place worthy of poetic description (if only, he says, with insightful self-deprecation, he had the language).

Dion lives his hand-to-mouth existence on the fringes of the tourist economy. He is the eyes and ears – and, therefore, the ragged “sheriff” – of a dodgy local businessman.

The National:

We learn all of this from a monologue that overflows with pathos and laugh-out-loud humour.

The writing, and the acting, are similarly engaging when Dion’s brother Ally (played, in a lovely bit of casting, by Paul McCole’s brother, the impressive Stephen McCole).

Ally – who is, ostensibly, by far the more “together” and successful of the siblings – has come to Kalamaki with a plan to put his benighted brother’s assumed naivety to use in a scandal that he (Ally) has got himself into.

The meeting of the siblings and the story that ensues (including the play’s turn towards the issue of climate chaos) are testament not only to Maxwell’s tremendous skills in humanistic characterisation, but also his extraordinary ability to illuminate a political subject by stealth.

The piece, which is designed minimally, is directed by PPP’s artistic director Jemima Levick with the required emphasis on the actors’ freedom to move around within their characters. Affecting and memorable, this play reminds us that Maxwell is something of an unsung hero among Scottish dramatists.

At the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, October 12-14, and the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, October 17-21