Simon Crowther’s new comedy The Ushers aims to capture essence of 1996
Paisley-set production directed by Raindog's Stuart Davids
The phrase ‘period drama’ is more likely to bring to mind a play set in Regency England or 18th century Paris than Paisley in the 1990s. Yet, Simon Crowther’s new comedy The Ushers, which follows a group of young characters as they deal with leaving home and falling in love in the long summer of 1996, was conceived as an attempt to capture the essence of that particular decade.
‘I lived in Sheffield in the 1990s. It was an exciting place to be, things were happening,’ says Crowther. ‘But what got the play started was remembering a funny story my friend told me years ago, about something he’d said to a girl. Not even a story really, just a very brief exchange. It seemed to sum up how we were at that age. Initially I avoided setting the play in the 90s – I feared it was too recent. Then I bit the bullet. The 90s was our 60s, or 70s, and I wanted to capture its flavour.’
The play is set in 1996, a year the playwright remembers fondly.
‘The European Championships were in town, everyone was full of hope,’ he says. ‘But prior to that summer, I remember being at a big house party on the night Bruno fought Mike Tyson for the second time. Something terrible had happened a few days before. I set the play quite specifically on the Friday night between those two events.’
The production is directed by Raindog’s Stuart Davids, who previously helmed some episodes of Coronation Street Crowther had written.
‘Unlike me, Stuart is a doer. He got four of the younger Corrie cast members to do a read-through of The Ushers, just to hear it come alive. Then he took it to the Tron. Stuart’s very good with comedy, but I also knew he could bring out the darker layers, the pathos and the doom that underpin the play.’
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 18–Sat 22 Jan