If you’re looking to travel back through the years and witness witty portrayals of your schooldays, then this show will transport you. Set in 70’s Edinburgh, we are invited to see what lies inside the final manuscript of a drama teacher, Hibernian fan and advocate of Scottish independence.
We find ourselves listening to songs from Queen and Abba, smoking one’s first cigarette in hidden parts of the playground,the first slow dance with a girl, and family dynamics at Hogmanay; each of these episodes are conveyed well and with immense energy by the cast of Craft Theatre.
This performance will not challenge your memory of the past but is rather a celebration of what has been lost and what we should remember. It’s a fun, reminiscent and an entertaining hour of musical theatre, precisely what it sets out to achieve. Don’t attend if you are seeking narrative tension or unexpected plot twists. The show is a £10 ticket to a place, perhaps already embedded in your memory, which can easily be forgotten during day-in day-out living. Indeed, the ghost of the narrator asks us gently in the final moments of the piece to reflect, to recall.
The death of a schoolboy changes the atmosphere within the room from one of joyous nostalgia to melancholic contemplation. If the show concluded shortly after at this point, it may have been more effective. By leaping from a tender, impassioned rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody at the boy’s funeral straight back into classroom dynamics, we forget, too quickly, the remembrance of our first exposure to death and mortality.
Yet And They Played Shang- A-Lang is a fine production and will encourage your memory to speak and, perhaps, your eyes to water.