Turn The Night
- Lorna Irvine
- 14 May 2019
Gav Prentice's homage to once booming towns and music is a touching, funny hour
Sometimes, it's hard to evoke the spirit of Dylan's Highway 61 when you're playing in and around the North Lanarkshire area. Over The Wall's Gav Prentice portrays four characters in a pub karaoke night, whose dreams and quibbles are reflected in a selection of original songs, many of which skewer the clichés of lost highways and lost souls.
It's not just the carpets that are sticky. Titch, the compere, is a man of a certain vintage who's clearly no stranger to double denim (first time around) with his dad dancing and howlers.
Caroline, married to bar treasurer Rick, is the rock of the establishment: steadfast and wry, she muses over the Scots obsession with country and western, while providing pathos.
And Kevin is a dreamer, who has it all figured out: auditions, Britain's Got Talent and a permanent move to Australia – even if he's prone to an overshare or two.
But trouble is brewing with the brews, when it emerges that belligerent, humourless Rick, who takes to the mic like a prize fighter, is getting involved with gangsters.
Prentice is a charismatic, twinkly eyed performer, and flits between characters with ease. Even if the storytelling, focused on chipping away at the veneer of drinking culture, seems familiar, there's a winning physicality and sense of defiance in his presence.
He rails against the sense of community that's been lost with the rise of gastro pubs; but above all, Turn The Night is a love song to shared spaces, and the power of music to transcend working-class environments.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Run ended.