Interview: playwright DC Jackson wants to Kill Johnny Glendinning
The hard-edged gangster comedy hopes to tackle the west coast’s attitude to glorifying violence
Ayrshire playwright DC Jackson returns to Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum following his successful contemporary update of Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro back in 2012. His return is accompanied by a partnership which the Fringe First-winning writer of My Romantic History believes has worked well for him. ‘I’ve always admired from afar what Mark [Thomson, artistic director] has done with the Lyceum; I think he’s a very smart programmer,’ says Jackson who has recently launched a TV career for himself writing for the third series of student sitcom Fresh Meat. ‘It must be a difficult building to run and keep everyone happy. Along with the Citizens in Glasgow [co-producers of Kill Johnny Glendenning], it’s the pinnacle of the subsidised sector.’
It seems that this play will straddle the two worlds both theatres need to serve; on the one hand it’s a hard-edged gangster comedy which starts on an Ayrshire farm used to dispose of murder victims by way of feeding them to pigs and ends in a plush flat in Glasgow’s West End. Yet at the same time, marked-for-death Ulster paramilitary Johnny Glendenning (David Ireland) and his Glasgow gangster nemesis Andrew MacPherson (Paul Samson, returning to the stage after over a decade in River City) say much more about the west coast’s attitude to glorifying violence, not least through the media. ‘That was definitely what sent me into this territory,’ says Jackson. ‘Although there is a point in storytelling at which you become the thing you want to satirise. Hopefully I’ve stayed on the right side of that.’
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 11 Oct; Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 22 Oct--Sat 8 Nov.