Entertaining production of Gagarin Way despite smothering political debate
Gregory Burke's blackly comic kidnap-gone-wrong thriller
Playwright Gregory Burke may be best known for the endlessly garlanded Black Watch. But judging by the packed and noisily receptive crowd at the Brunton Theatre in mid-March, theatregoers also have fond memories of his debut, the blackly comic kidnap-gone-wrong thriller Gagarin Way.
Rapture Theatre’s revival largely justifies this sense of excitement. Michael Emans’ production of the play – about a pair of factory workers who kidnap a consultant, either for ideological political reasons or purely for kicks – proceeds at a breathless pace with the emphasis squarely on the witty lines and snappy rhythm of Burke’s text. This is enhanced by a quartet of excellent performances – notably Jimmy Chisholm as Gary the hapless would-be revolutionary and Jordan Young, controlled but terrifying as the psychotic Eddie, a man who would delight in ripping the legs off your pet terrier.
This makes for an entertaining evening, but somewhere along the way, Burke’s wider concerns about the need for political engagement in a socially dysfunctional society get lost in the relentless barrage of jokes. And when the downbeat ending comes around, it doesn’t feel as though the idealistic side of the political debate has been given enough of a chance to put its case.
Currently touring. Seen at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Sat 19 Mar