Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sports Day

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars
From the moment River City star, stage actress and musician Joyce
Falconer shuffles onstage sporting a vivid pink track-suit, Olivia
Newton John sweat-band and Chariots of Fire ring-tone, it becomes clear
that teamwork is at the heart of the Citz's big-scale community theatre
response to the impending Glasgow-based 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Falconer is Geraldine, the retiring but never shy janitor whose last
day falls on the school sports day that this compendium of sketches,
songs and short plays is based around. With Geraldine the linking
device, narrator and social glue between each, Falconer also becomes
the fifth member of the show's rousing live band led by Michael John
McCarthy.

From such a starting block on an astro-turf covered stage, we follow
the lead-up to the main event through miniature dramas involving
toffee-nosed head-masters, anxious parents, competitive dads and a
family fending off  bribes from dodgy politicians who offer them cash
for fancy new training shoes. There is a touching scene between a star
runner who is also his dad's carer, some off-piste bake-sale rivalry
and a solo riff on rounders in which defeat is snatched from the jaws
of victory.

Performed by a mammoth cast of sixty-five, Guy Hollands and Neil
Packham's production miraculously navigates the performers through each
set-piece with a well-co-ordinated brio that heroically manages to
avoid them from crashing into each other. So well knitted-together are
things, in fact, that it's hard to tell who wrote what, although the
likes of Peter Arnott, Lynda Radley, Douglas Maxwell and Linda McLean
are certainly in there with thirteen others in a show in which everyone
is on the same side.

The Herald, June 6th 2014




ends

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