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The Ushers

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
2 stars
History records the last few years of twentieth century Britain as a
flag-waving riot of unabashed optimism, where Brit-pop, boy-bands and
girl power gate-crashed the party side by side and good times trickled
down the class scale like never before. If the nineties were just the
sixties turned upside down, things aren’t quite so clear cut in the
Sheffield terrace where Simon Crowther’s play for the newly regrouped
Raindog theatre company is set.

This is where Craig Porter’s Jed has fled from 1996 Paisley for a new
life away from the mates he grew up with, and where he can acquire
himself an Amazonian girlfriend, a new set of bad habits and an
aspirational vocabulary to see him through. But the appearance of his
best pal Skarloey the night before his sister’s wedding quickly
followed by sidekick Chubby and his new girl’s best friend Zoe throws
everything out of whack, as a stream of revelations threaten to change
things forever.

While Crowther seems to be attempting an in-yer-face sitcom that looks
back to an era that birthed Shameless, the mad-for-it quartet and
cartoon social realism now looks as old hat as the era of cocaine,
cigarettes and alcohol it depicts. While Stuart Davids’ production
contains some neat comic interplay, more speed and less haste would
lend things some much desired oomph. It’s also far too long for
something so slight, as if Crowther has tried to pack an entire TV mini
series into the play’s long two hours. Cutting a good half hour and a
couple of plot strands is what’s really required. At the moment the
1990s look duller than Jarvis Cocker’s brown corduroy jacket.

The Herald, January 20th 2011

ends

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