Still Game: Live 2 Bon Voyage
An enjoyable romp on the high seas with the Craiglang crew
When Jack and Victor take to the stage and insist that there will be less spectacular effects than at their first Hydro residency in 2014, you just know that the opposite will be true. So, when Navid, Isa, Winston, Boaby and Tam make their entrances, it's via increasingly daring stunts that have the adoring throng in raptures.
But setting aside the high-wires, canons and flying carpets (plus full-cast dance routines), underneath it all lies a quiet tale about thwarted love and strained friendships. Intriguingly, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill have chosen to give their beloved creations near bit-parts here, with the show's narrative drive fuelled by a prank from Winston (Paul Riley) on perennial miser Tam (Mark Cox), and a clerical error which leads Isa (Jane McCarry) to believe that Navid (Sanjeev Kohli) has the hots for her (McCarry and Kohli later act out a latex dream sequence that few viewers will ever be able to excise from their brain, whether they want it there or not).
While the first half mainly takes place in the familiar triumvirate of Navid's shop, The Clansman and a Craiglang front room, the second part has the cast on a cruise ostensibly to get away from a bleak Scottish winter but also for Tam to ponder on his parsimonious past and uncertain future.
It does seems unlikely that by simply having the focus shift from the Jack 'n' Victor relationship that less humour has bounced off the script but there are definitely less big laughs here than at the first Hydro run or on the consistently excellent TV show. Meanwhile, the 'In the Navy' grand finale is not a patch on 2014's climactic Bollywood extravaganza. But for sure, everyone trickles out of the auditorium with satisfied grins on their faces as the antics of these pretend pensioners are more than enough to warm up a cold month.
Still Game: Live 2 Bon Voyage is at The Hydro, Glasgow, until Thu 16 Feb.