Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Poor McLuckie. It looks like the compulsive gambler turned accidental jockey and even more accidental actor’s luck has all but run out in this new one-man monologue co-written by Martin Travers and Martin Docherty, and performed by Docherty for Broke Lad productions. Sitting in a funereally quiet hospital waiting room, McLuckie ponders his fate and how he got here as his past life flashes before his eyes in a series of bar-room yarns and routines worthy of anyone born to perform.
Growing up in working class Glasgow, McLuckie flits between the pub, the chip shop and the bookies with assorted n’er do well pals. Chance lands him not just betting on the gee-gees, but riding them as well, before falling at the first fence and finding himself at drama school.
This is where the fun really begins, as McLuckie finds himself playing Puck in a rave take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream before being forced to endure the inevitable longeurs of unemployment. Docherty launches himself into all this with a gallus motor-mouthed charm, narrating his own rake’s progress with a sinewy intensity that never loses the show’s sense of fun.
Given the current debate regarding a lack of access into drama school for working class would-be actors, one might have expected some kind of frontline polemic against the apparent poshing-up of stage and screen. As it is, Travers and Docherty prefer to let McLuckie speak for himself, with all the everyday crises of an actor’s life intact. Docherty delivers the script with a relish that savours every one-liner, physicalising each punchline to stress the point. This makes for a loose-limbed fanfare for the common man that demystifies the business of show while suggesting matters of life and death are elsewhere. As for what happens next for McLuckie, all bets are off.
The Herald, April 27th 2018