Theatre review: Cool Dads, Oran Mor, Glasgow

THE idea that Dads on the touchline can become a bit over-excited over their kids’ performances in junior league football is hardly new; but in his latest new comedy for A Play, A Pie And A Pint, Simon Macallum gives it a vigorous and pithy trot around the park, enlivened by a obligingly feminist perspective on the behaviour of men around football.

Adam Robertson, Kris McDowall and David McGowan take their kids football seriously, while Natali McCleary is a sensible mum

Cool Dads, Oran Mor, Glasgow ***

The two dads who feature in Macallum’s play are lifelong friends Danny, a successful plumber, and Graham, a genial soul with ambitions as a disc jockey. Both have sons in the local team managed by former schoolmate Paul; but when Danny discovers that his boy Aaron has been moved to midfield, all hell breaks loose at the weekly match, with Danny accusing Paul of acting out an ancient grudge from their own schooldays.

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Acting as a foil to all this male aggression is Angie, played with spirit by Natali McCleary, a young about-to-be-single Mum of three who is no mean footballer herself. In a sense, the play’s idealising of Angie, and of her ability to act like an adult even with her own son on the pitch, is only the flip side of all the bullying and dismissal of women that men have indulged in in the past.

Yet with Adam Robertson, Kris McDowall and David McGowan turning in three appealing, fast-talking performances as the men - and occasional bursts of pure love for the beautiful game bringing all four characters together in celebration - Neil Leiper’s production offers an entertaining hour of fun, with a backbeat of seriousness about how 21st century men are beginning to realise just how far times have changed, and how they must change in response.