Sex, Lies and Eurovision

This is the tale of Neil (Grant Campbell) and how, as the dreaded forty grows ever closer, he decides to reform his old band in another bid for Eurovision glory.The play is littered with some amusing gags covering a broad range of topics from breakfast cereal to university fees. Unfortunately the dialogue is never truly given the conviction it deserves. Each new cast member enters the tale and struggles to divert their thinly drawn characters into anything truthful. There is no real chemistry between any of the main characters in the band and it feels that each actor is constantly trying very hard to be the one who is getting the most laughs. The broad Scottish accents of the cast are sometimes so thick and rushed that we lose the clarity of the words and some dialogue becomes inaudible. Meanwhile I wonder whether there are as many sighs in the actual script as the actors have decided to add into their performance.As the play limps on there is a heavy-handed signposting of a twist that Neil may play a more important part in one of the band member’s lives than we realise. The story takes such an obvious route to get to its conclusion it will have you wondering why it is taking so long. It may be director Alan Bayley’s insistence on changing the stage with pointless props and set at the end of every scene. In fact I think I laughed more during the endless blacked-out crossovers as actors and stagehands stumbled and bumped into each other than I did at the actual play itself. It would have been more beneficial to have the play performed on a bare stage to trim some fat off that epic 90 minute running time.Besides all this, Campbell does give a dignified performance and keeps the piece somewhat watchable. Like a cross between Droopy Dog and Jimmy Nail, he performs with a nice air of easygoing naturalism that makes his midlife slacker a welcome presence throughout. Special mention also to the youngest cast member, Kim Allen, who enters the play late on and gives the piece a much needed boost of energy as a feisty waitress.The scenes between Campbell and Allen are when the play really comes to life, but by the time Allen’s character is introduced to this weak comedy drama I’m afraid it’s a case of too little too late.

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

Online at www.DavidLeddy.com (with Traverse Theatre)

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The Blurb

Producers of 2010 smash Trainspotting - 'Gripping...Not to be missed’ ***** (Festival Review) - return with this raucous Scottish comedy-drama. Mullets, intrigue and leopard skin thongs? Boom Bang-a-Bang! It's time for making your mind up! www.practical-magic.org