Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Max is down to have his first square go at the end of the school day. Stevie is hauners. It is the day that Danny Guthrie shall take Max from being a wee boy to transcending into being a battered wee man. Max is with Stevie in the toilets before the main event and he is pure keeching it. Over the next hour of pure keeching it, Max realises that if he needs to go through with it, Stevie is not the man anyone would want in their corner whilst they examine how faithers and brithers are pure hanging roon yer neck and also yer maw might not want tae be mentioned.
Patter and pathos in a round stage. Produced with a thick Glasgow accent and with a swagger that would dry a washing, this is Scottish theatre doing what it can do best. Max enters with the crowd being hyped up, Stevie follows with the kind of cutting entrance that all good pals are able to deliver when they know you. From there the interaction between them has all the Glaswegian/ West Coast twang you are likely to want to handle. We also get a clear assault on the masculine senses that bring man into the arena and analyse it without the hint of a microscope but maybe a baseball bat instead.
There are familiar tropes from the street of the schemes used but with a sensitivity and a theatricality which is just delightful. Things bounce majestically and musically because both Gary McNair and Kieran Hurley have their inner ear tuned to it. Along with director Fin Den Hertog this never leaves reality but often reaches majesty but…
There are sensitive touches such as looking at Danny Guthrie’s brother’s story, the story of Max and his father and how the other bully in the school chases Max every day. There’s theatrical gold aplenty from the set ups of the reasons behind the square go, the arm wrestling competition, 7 reasons why Danny Guthrie beats Max because he is more manly, the chanting throughout and the ending.
You get in here and they take you places that make you laugh and guffaw out loud. That is because we have two exceptional actors in Scott Fletcher and Gavin Jon Wright who are just sublime. They have the ear and they have the timing. It is funny, hilariously so and with such a gift of a script might be seen to be an easy performer’s task but it needs two consummate performers; we have them.
It does not shy away from any issue and the genius lies in the ability to take on the issues of our time – male adolescence, growing up without a father figure and how we look at aggression – without having to layer it on think but bring it to a table with an apoplectic bam who has a grudge chasing you whilst you hope yer maw won’t find ye greeting in the bog.
It’s a delight and if any of this review is beyond your comprehension, it will all become clear in Roundabout with McNair and Hurley making the bullets, Hertog bringing the gun and the sure fire wit and delivery of Fletcher and Wright an unassailable combination…