- Lorna Irvine
- 15 May 2018
New revival of Scottish comedy drama is a cat's cradle of ideas
Stephen Greenhorn's coming -of-age play is ironically now twenty one, so it seems a timely opportunity for Dundee Rep's artistic director Andrew Panton to bring it back.
Two working-class lads, thuggish Alex (Ewan Donald) and his bookish best pal Brian (Martin Quinn) are coming to the conclusion that Motherwell isn't exactly hoaching with potential, so they steal a surfboard from Alex's work, the local sports shop, and with a dodgy old Lada, set off for Thurso , hoping to sell it off and find, if not their bliss, then some kind of meaning.
Problem is, the surfboard belongs to resident brute Binks ( a game Barrie Hunter) a man with a short temper and a long memory , particularly when it comes to grudges.
There are many inventive incidents , aided by Becky Minto's witty set design and props - her road in the middle of the set suggestive of life's paths – as well as the literal usage. A sofa on wheels becomes the car, beds, and pub counter, amongst other things. Scottish clichés are given a roasting, with some sharp one-liners.
And of course, it's all bolstered by a fantastic cast, particularly the likeable Quinn as sweet underdog Brian, and Emily Winter and John Kielty as numerous eccentrics. Yet for all of its knockabout energy, lovely live folky music composed by Kielty and played by the cast, it's a touch overloaded by a mesh of styles – magical realism, farce and drama – to ever fully affect heart or head.