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The Cause of Thunder

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Three stars

It's more than two years since the Scottish independence referendum, and a lot has changed for Bob Cunningham, the ageing firebrand at the centre of Chris Dolan's solo play, performed with partisan gusto by David Hayman as part of a tour that travels the country over the next month. Bob is seeking shelter from the Glasgow storm, and finds himself washed up in the same bar he was last in before the referendum.

Bruised but unbowed, Bob holds court as he attempts to come to terms, not just with the No vote, but with the pro Brexit result, the election of President Trump and the rise of hate crime that appears to have been spawned in tandem with both. In this respect, Dolan's sequel to his pre-referendum companion piece, The Pitiless Storm, is a kind of living newspaper that heaps iniquity after iniquity onto Bob and the strata of working class west of Scotland society he represents.

Dolan's script is two-tiered in David Hayman Junior's production for the FairPley company. On the one hand, Bob is a Lear-like figure, briefly in exile from his own ideals while he takes stock of his own mortality as a principled survivor of the post-truth age. On the other, Bob's affirmations as he rediscovers his faith in his own beliefs as much as the wider human spirit are dispatches from the front-line of the bar-room revolution. Hayman flits briskly between gallus bravura, lingering pathos and a fierce commitment to something better as Bob attempts to make sense of the mess which the majority of us have had thrust upon us by the darkest of powers imaginable.

The Herald, February 20th 2017

ends

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