Theatre review: Fishwrap, Glasgow

IN AN age of crisis for the newspaper industry – with traditional economic models crashing about our ears, and the world of news moving online - there’s something both alarming and touching about a play like Fishwrap, Kieran Lynn’s short epic drama about one young woman’s journey through modern journalism.


Oran Mor, Glasgow

Star rating: * * *

Playing at Oran Mor until today, and at the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, next week, Fishwrap tells the tale of Caroline, a bright young journalism graduate who seizes the chance to take over a failing local newspaper in Clackmannanshire, and to try to inject some life into its circulation figures by the time-honoured methods of sexing up and dumbing down.

In Clackmannanshire, though, Caroline meets Thomas, the ex-editor she is replacing, a devastatingly handsome and principled guy – played very convincingly by Ben Clifford – who believes in old-fashioned news values, and in using journalism to expose the abuse of power; and when the ghastly Polly St James arrives from head office for an inspection visit, the plot reaches a crisis. The script is fast-moving, well-made, and just a shade naive; Thomas and Caroline are saved, in the end, when he receives a major job offer from The Scotsman. Fishwrap is a brisk, heartfelt play, though, about an important subject. And with Helen McKay and Louise Ludgate throwing in a pair of well-judged performances as Caroline and the dreadful Polly, the very caricature of a wicked newspaper lady, there’s plenty to enjoy in Fishwrap, and plenty to ponder, too.

Seen on 10.02.14

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