Still Game: The Final Farewell
- Brian Donaldson
- 30 September 2019
A filthy but not always hilariously funny finale for the Craiglang crew
It was the show that conceivably could have continued for years to come. With the majority of Still Game's main cast now at least a couple of decades younger than the characters they played, it might have been fun for us to see them physically catch up on Jack, Victor, Isa and co, but chances are it would have driven the actors a bit doolally.
Without doubt one of Scotland's most popular cultural artefacts over the last quarter century, Still Game has come a mighty long way from its 1997 Edinburgh Fringe debut. With fans' tears only just having dried up from the TV version's highly charged finale earlier this year, Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan have unleashed their most lavish stage production yet in order to bid a fond adieu to the denizens of Craiglang. In an attempt to avoid major spoilers for the many thousands still to pop along to the Hydro, it's enough to say that The Final Farewell picks up more or less where the TV show concluded. There's also an enjoyable cameo from one former colleague of Hemphill and Kiernan, while a narratively justifiable appearance is made by the nation's most notorious celebrity sex offender.
What can be revealed is that this is the filthiest Still Game experience to date; the series-one episode in which Isa's desire for Richard Whiteley results in her digging out a dildo seems positively prudish by comparison. Sadly, this show might be remembered more for its raunch levels than its raucous laughter, with several sections taking ages to get to any kind of punchline; and even when it got there, the pay-off didn't always hit the mark. Also largely hit and miss were the musical numbers, but the staging is impressive and the crowd's love for their favourites rarely dips with the onstage camaraderie plain for all to see.
While the temptation may have been strong to keep their options open for Craiglang's juggernaut to hit the road again somewhere down the line, Hemphill and Kiernan have made the right decision in sending their beloved creations into official retirement.
Still Game: The Final Farewell, SSE Hydro, Glasgow, until Sunday 13 October.