Never mind a play, let’s make a Tommy Sheridan opera
CONGRATULATIONS to Rab C Nesbitt creator Ian Pattison, who - as revealed today - will be the first person to turn the life of Tommy Sheridan into a theatre show. I Tommy, a new “tragi-comedy” play, is set to go into production soon.
There is a kind of inevitability about this news. If Pattinson hadn’t done it, someone else would. Even now, playwright David Greig may be quietly crossing it off his ‘to do’ list, along with John Tiffany of the National Theatre of Scotland. And if neither of them had done it, Sheridan himself was probably next on the ‘most likely’ list. He’s already done a Tommy Sheridan stage show, after all, with his Edinburgh Fringe chat show in 2007. Does he have the creative skills to conjure up a fictionalised version of his life though? Hmm.
Scottish Opera would have been another obvious contender, and might have missed a trick here - look at the amount of attention that Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole Smith opera got last year. Not that I’m comparing Sheridan to Nicole Smith - much - but the rise and fall of Tommy is perfect material for an opera - it’s got sex, politics, high drama, bitter rivalries... Toby Spence as Tommy? Just a suggestion.
Or there’s always the more populist option - a musical (some wag has already created an embryonic version of this on YouTube, with music from - of course - The Who’s rock opera, Tommy). Stephen Greenhorn, writer of the hugely successful Proclaimers show Sunshine on Leith, would make a fine fist of Tommy: The Musical, perhaps using another selection of jukebox favourites (we’ll let you insert your own suggestions here, rather than succumb to the temptation to make cheap ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ jokes... oh, too late).
Maybe this is thinking too small, though. A man with a life as epic as Tommy Sheridan’s merits a form of storytelling that’s bigger and more sweeping. Yes, what about Tommy Sheridan: The Movie? But who has the charisma to take the lead role? Gerard Butler? He’s good at shouting, but possibly lacks the acting chops. Ewan McGregor? Too weedy. James McAvoy? Ditto. Meryl Streep? Not as crazy as it might seem - the woman can turn herself into pretty much anything; she’d probably even make a decent job of the accent.
Any other suggestions?