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FringeReview Scotland 2015

Oh graveyard, you can’t hold me always by Alan McKendrick

MA Classical and Contemporary Theatre, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in association with the Playwright’s Studio, Scotland

Genre: Drama

Venue: Chandler Studio, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


Low Down

Two speed cameras talk us through the menial task they have before a panda enters and we watch him try to commit suicide. Having dropped his head and caused mayhem we then follow him and a tiny arsonist who tried to burn down the library from where she was sacked, to meet two US style cops who become parole officers, many people sacked for a multiplicity of things, a ten year old boy in a brothel with a frog, a music shop about to close down, musings on capitalism and the future look of the job centre that turns out to be an evil place filled with dodgy people – and that’s just the workers – who knew?


The premise of this whole piece was your worst jobs – what a cracking start. I can see how the cast and writer would have found that to be a rich seam to mine. In any smorgasbord of storytelling however there are likely to be a variety of quality offerings and this was no different. I liked the beginning, the gag with the frog and the brothel was well loved and the performances were always full on. The major problem that I had was with where the script failed to take us.

The musings on capitalism, the US style cops and the job centre pieces were over complex and seemed to sacrifice performance for text. Delivered by each character with conviction there were times I wondered if they, and we knew what they were on about. In particular the job centre pieces seemed to start by suggesting an Easyjet/job centre fusion that I would have followed with joy. The over commercialisation of the welfare state would have been a very interesting concept to follow. It ended for me with an over complex exploration of evil and good with accompanying capes.

Laura Vingoe-Cram directed with a very assured handle on it though. The set changes were slick and provided some very decent comedy moments. The nature of the whole piece demanded collaboration and she was able to prove she could manage this with distinction.

The performers were excellent and I liked how they threw themselves into this with a wide variety of parts, partners and focus.

What I didn’t like was the make up which made many of them look like they had fallen out of a 1980’s pop video. I would have settled for a little less Visage…

Overall patchy but again, this was one of three performances achieved at the RCS with the support of the Playwright’s Studio, Scotland and managed in an incredibly short timescale. Whilst my major gripe was the script, my major admiration is for the process and the result. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how difficult theatre can be to appreciate how good some of our participants in the process are.