Scene of the Titans

A huge final number, full cast on stage, twiddly runs over the final note. ‘Four stars!’, I wrote happily in my red reviewer’s notebook, snapping it shut and starting to think about whether The Piemaker was still open. Well, folks, I never got my tattie dog, because the show went on for another long, long hour.Now, I had noticed the show was wordy - and I’m talking entire scenes which could have been replaced with one sentence - but it wasn’t a huge problem until it became clear the lazy writing was going to drag the show on to nearly two hours. In the Fringe environment, where shows are expected to be fifty minutes tops, you’d better be doing something pretty special to justify two hours. These guys aren’t.Gay rights were considerably less advanced in Northern Ireland than they were in the rest of naughties UK, and this musical is based on a real-life story which attracted much press coverage at the time. It’s not really a happy ending, but its a story of hope and happiness. Suitable musical fayre then, with obvious marketing potential. In order to take this show to the next level, the writer needs to distinguish between what’s dramatic action and what’s unneeded activity, and not be afraid to depart from what actually happened in order to make the show as good as it can be.Scene of the Titans is about the formation and spiritual triumph of a gay-friendly - read ‘gay’ - rugby team in 2007 Northern Ireland. Sexy soldier Colin walks into Belfast’s only gay bar. Ding dong! The local unlucky-in-love Terry would do anything to impress him, even rugby, and it’s boy meets boy from then on in. It’s like Harvey Milk, but about rugby and with added songs in Northern Irish accents.You’ll have noticed the naked man in the show’s marketing material. ‘There’s a fine line’ says Sophie the funny, formidable and rather fanciable drag queen, ‘between a fetish and a sport.’ Yes, I can confirm there is partial nudity on stage, but don’t expect anything too raunchy - it’s more sweet than sexy.Great high-camp performances from Sophia, Cillian and the ‘marketing’ are not matched by the rest of the group, who tend to have one or too strong scenes and let the lest of their roles slide. For example, coach Vicky is incredibly hilarious in her first scene, but rather fades into the background after that - partially due to the uneven distribution of her jokes in the play.Music is similarly patchy. Strong songs like ‘My God is Gay’ and ‘Let the Boy Get the Boy’ are mixed in with frankly dreadful tat. Again, an hour spent with a red pen crossing out the weak parts of the script and score would have worked wonders for the star rating.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard

Creatives

★★
Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond

★★★★★

The Blurb

The true story of Northern Ireland's first gay-friendly rugby team. Their clubhouse: a gay bar. Their manager: a drag queen. Their story: an inspiration. World premiere new musical. www.sceneofthetitans.co.uk