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Linwood No More

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars
 From beneath a pile of cardboard surrounding a park bench, a
middle-aged man comes crawling from the wreckage he calls home. A
casualty of the rise and fall of the Linwood dream, when the
manufacture of the Hillman Imp put the small Renfewshire town  on the
map before the plug was pulled as bigger, shinier cars dazzled the
paying public even more, the Man sees in the new millennium with a dram
and tells his story.

It's a sorry and sadly familiar tale he tells, of how he started on the
production line straight from school as a wet-behind-the-ears youth,
met his wife and built a life on the back of it, only to be
unceremoniously thrown onto the scrap heap as capitalism failed and the
dream faded. But it gets worse, as he loses his life-long love and hits
the bottle, only to appear at least, to have survived, seriously
bruised, but unbowed.

At first glance, Paul Coulter's monologue, performed with steely
commitment by Vincent Friell in a production by Liz Carruthers for the
White Stag Theatre Company, could just be a period piece from Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher's inglorious war on the working classes.
Look closer, however, and, fourteen years after the turn of the century
when the play is set, it is not simply an elegy for a community killed
by capitalism's false promises. It is also a warning that, with an even
crueller government in office in Westminster, and people falling
through the cracks just like Friell's character, this is as much about
now as then in a play where happy endings are something that happen
elsewhere.

The Herald, October 13th 2014


ends

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