Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 7 Feb-Sat 3 Mar
No amount of ‘City of Culture’ or ‘Glasgow Smiles Better’ labels can conceal the stereotypical view of Scotland’s largest city. This less than perfect reputation runs deeper than sovereign-wearing bams swallying Buckie.
As a follow up to the success of last year’s No Mean City, Roddy McMillan’s The Bevellers is presented as part of the Citz’ ‘Gritty Yet Glittering’ season. This unquestionably falls under ‘gritty’, whatever its glitz. Set in a basement bevelling shop of a glass factory in Glasgow’s East end, it sees young apprentice Norrie arrive for his first day in this testosterone filled work place. Will he shatter under pressure?
The first performance in 1973 saw McMillan in the lead role. It enjoyed a successful run and was televised for BBC’s Play For Today. The continuing revivals of ‘working man’ plays in Scottish culture suggests that even now we are experiencing a hangover from the industrial decline, fascinated by the toll it took on society. The frustration experienced by the workers is reflected in McMillan’s plays, capturing the mood of an era. Jeremy Raison once again revives McMillan’s work with a strong cast that includes Brian Pettifer, Billy Riddoch and William Ruane. It should be a night of compelling theatre that goes beyond the sovereigns and stereotypes.