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Live and Local broadcasting from Kirkcaldy Fife

Canned Laughter

March 11, 2016

ALLAN STEWART, ANDY GRAY, GRANT STOTT & GABRIEL QUIGLEY

ADAM SMITH THEATRE KIRKCALDY March 11th 2016

 

I must have been one of the very few people in the audience who could honestly hold their hands up to say that he had never seen, or indeed heard, anything in the past from any of these performers. Of course I know who they are, and their reputations within Scottish theatre and pantomime for example, but this was my first time. Billed as A Funny Play About Being Funny to be honest I approached it with a degree of wariness due to my own particular taste in humour. Depicting the professional rise and fall of a “famous and successful” triple act of humorists tonight was not a stand-up routine event, thankfully. Instead it proved to be quite a sad tale of broken dreams, friendships lost and or destroyed by management manipulation, different desires and professional ambition, ego, regret and the realisation that if we don’t say sorry at the time it becomes increasingly hard or impossible to do so. Whilst pathos underpinned the story the evening was enlivened by lashings of funny lines either delivered as if in performance or within backstage dressing rooms. Moving through variable time frames, the 1970’s, 80’s etc with fine period set details, and the present this talented quartet of actors mapped out the career course and implosion of protagonists Alec, Gus & Rory. Timing and chemistry is everything in comedy and I found myself absolutely believing these guys were an act. I’m not going to single out many particular traits but full credit to Andy Gray for his range of comedic expressions and moves. Both he and Grant came over well when using the device of talking directly to the audience during reflective moments (a nice director’s touch) and towards the end Allan was very effective as the sole remaining “star” evoking isolation and regret. To go into the story further would open up the possibilities of spoilers so I will say no more. If you want a great evening full of laughter but also thoughtful insight to the price paid to achieve success then I heartily recommend seeing this production as it tours Scotland. Just a little suffix is that, with a very small amount of tweaking of the script, this show would work equally well in Ireland, Wales and England even switching genres to depict a band break up for example. Afterall we all know about famous acrimonious break-ups within the world of music.

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