It was the late great Bill Shankley who came out with the statement ‘Football is not a matter of life or death…. It’s more important than that’ and this maxim seems to hold true for too many people and two examples of this are Celtic fan Tim, James McAnerney and Rangers fanatic Billy, Scott Kyle, who find themselves incarcerated in the same jail cell during the latest ‘Old Firm’ match. But it is certainly a different story for jailer Harry, James Millar who is waiting for information of his critically ill grandson.
This play written by Des Dillon and directed by Stephen Cafferty is an extremely funny look at the inbred rivalry and bigotry that is prevalent in many cultures, complete with earthy language, scuffles and gradual revelations that just maybe the opposite factions are not so wildly different in essence.
This production has gathered rave reviews and awards throughout it’s entire life so it is understandable that it always draws big audiences, often audiences who cannot ever be described as regular theatre goers, and this was certainly the case at Dunfermline’s Alhambra Theatre,
Peppered with many anecdotal references to recent Old Firm news, these bring howls of laughter and occasional derision from the separate factors within the audience, as Dillon pokes fun at many of the beliefs that are held.
This play is outstandingly funny, yet occasionally laced with pathos and both McAnerney and Kyle deliver in style as the two anti-heroes. Yet their somewhat stereotypical characters do have the ability to see past their dogma and seem to have genuine empathy for Harry’s situation as this leads to the somewhat predictable conclusion.
This play doesn’t require an in-depth understanding of football to enjoy it, but maybe the language is such that you should think twice before taking your maiden aunt to see it.
NLP Theatre Company is touring this production until April, so if you fancy a really good laugh why not go to their website www.nlptheatre.co.uk and check where they are performing near you. And for future productions playing a the Alhambra Theatre www.alhambradunfermline.com is the site to see.
Reviewed by Geoff