Coming of age is everything in Dundee Rep’s twenty-first anniversary revival of Stephen Greenhorn’s poignantly funny rites of passage drama. As small-town lost boys Alex and Brian do a runner from Motherwell with a state-of-art surfboard tied to the back of a clapped-out Lada, they end up finding a brave new world where they can be anyone they want to be. With psychotic Binks on their tails, free-spirited Mirren and all the other crazies they encounter en route to the perfect wave up north already seem to be way ahead of them.
Set against designer Becky Minto’s expansive road to nowhere, Andrew Panton’s heartfelt production unearths fresh life in a 1990s period piece that looks and sounds ever profounder with age. Written at a time when an entire generation was looking for a way out, Greenhorn’s play manages to pack a set of big ideas – about selfhood, identity and freedom on every level – into a fast-moving one-liner-laced romp.
Ewan Donald and Martin Quinn capture Alex and Brian’s sense of out-of-their-depth outsiderdom with all the gawky naiveté required. Barrie Hunter is dangerously funny as Binks, and Eleanor House and Emily Winter offer different kinds of liberation as Mirren and Iona. Taqi Nazeer and John Kielty’s parade of gurus and comic cameos are pure League of Gentlemen material. Kielty also composes the Brit-folk live score played by the cast.
At the play’s heart, Greenhorn captures the wave of everyday aspiration that fuelled a generation of largely working class young men and women seemingly destined for the scrap-heap, but who somehow managed to break the mould in ways barely possible now. The result today is a work shot through with the fearlessness of youth that looks forward to the beginning of a beautiful adventure.
The Herald, April 20th 2018