Edinburgh Fringe 2019
A one man show by Scottee has us check our privilege as he shows us just why class continues to matter today
Wakey, wakey, Scottee is in the house, “a big fat council Mary’ in a red tracksuit – this is one show you’re definitely not going to sleep through. Exploring that well known social divide, the red wine/Stella line, Scottee is unrelenting, taking us, his largely white middle class audience as squirming, uncomfortable hostages. Forget that well known liberal trope that class doesn’t exist anymore – it’s all the economy, stupid – Scottee skewers our uncomfortableness with class and shows us just why it continues to matter.
Against a simple backdrop of net curtains and an empty stage, Scottee is alone on stage with a long trailing wire and a microphone; that’s it. But as he prowls around the stage, Scottee manages to completely occupy the space.
We’ve been given Waitrose style green tokens and asked to use them to vote for What do the working classes need more? Love or money? It turns out 60% of the audience have voted for ‘money’; this doesn’t let us off – “So where is it?” Scottee demands. Scottee’s interaction with his audience is masterful, though he immediately distances himself from us and attacks the white privilege of theatre, making us squirm in our seats, he nonetheless takes us with him. First determining that the audience is overwhelmingly middle class, asking us to make some noise ‘if you’re middle class’, he picks out an audience member, Rebecca, who’s middle class and like some latter day sage predicts what her house and her life is like. He then goes on to describe his rather different upbringing on a council estate. It’s an uncomfortable ride even when he plays out the boy band he was in to comic effect, the come down afterwards is swiftly delivered – there can be no reunion – the others are all dead now.
There are times when the message is a bit blunt and overplayed but, you know, maybe sometimes middle class audiences need to be battered over the head with a message that should be very, very obvious.
The show ends with Scottee crouched on the floor leafing through a photo album reading out captions, bite sized chunks about his life growing up on a council estate. Grim fact after grim fact emerge plunging the show into heaviness, uncoupled from the self effacing humour that has previously masked the misery. “ I don’t think I can go on anymore” says Scottee. And yet he does, every night, and that is our privilege.