Theatre review: McLuckie's Line, Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow
Theatre review: McLuckie’s Line, Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow ****
He finds his vocation, trains as an actor, and launches into a career that has its moments, but also involves long years of unemployment and bar work, trying to make it in London; but then, back home in his Forties, fate catches up with him in the most serious of ways, challenging him to decide whether the addictive thrill of acting – the “McLuckie’s Line” of the title – really means more to him than life itself.
What gives the show its vitality, though, is not so much McLuckie’s account of his acting career – full of sideswipes against the class and cultural attitudes of casting directors, and the decline of radical popular theatre in Britain – as his stunningly vivid evocation of life on the frontline in working-class Glasgow.
From the noisy, convivial atmosphere of his childhood home to a surreal return visit to an old greyhound-betting friend whose fridge contains just one pubic hair, his stories of the community from which he comes have an energy and poetry that is funny, angry and elegiac; and asks tough questions about whether that life still forms a living part of our national narrative, or is now confined to the personal memories of a dwindling band of artists who themselves grew up working-class.