Theatre review: From Paisley to Paolo
FROM PAISLEY TO PAOLO ORAN MOR, GLASGOW ****
IT'S more than 30 years since John Byrne first immortalised Paisley as one of the new centres of the creative universe. So it's slightly sad to find that the place has apparently slid backwards, towards a celebrity-age dependence on the illusion of self-esteem that comes from a distant association with the latest local boy made good.
In Martin McCardie's new lunchtime Play, Pie and Pint show, an excellent James Young plays Jack, a 24-year-old Paisley lad whose best career offer so far has been the role of a chicken in an on-street advertising campaign. His fortunes improve slightly, though, when he wins three tickets for a rock festival featuring local hero Paolo Nutini, so, along with his best friends Charlie and Mavis (Mavis is a boy, by the way), he heads off for a weekend of festival hedonism, all multicoloured pop-up tents and folding chairs.
It should be said that Stuart Davids' slightly under-rehearsed-looking production hardly flatters McCardie's 50-minute popular comedy, disrupting some of its tragi-comic rhythms. In a few brief scenes, though, the play develops the material for a genuine postmodern Scottish buddy-movie, tackling themes of work and worklessness, sexuality, celebrity, roots, friendship and identity with an impressive lightness of touch and vividness of character, as well as a crowd-pleasing dollop of all-male sentimentality.
So Alan Tripney's Charlie is a fine new comic stereotype, the guy who finds it easier to pretend to be gay than to try to be butch. James Kirk's Mavis is a gloriously eccentric character. And Jack is the new Scottish Everyman, desperately trying to sort out illusion and reality in a world that wants to keep him confused, and finally determined that whatever happens, he will not be abandoning his roots, or betraying the mates who give his life meaning, and even a little joy.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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