Saturday, 23 March 2013

Serial Killers and Mad Doctors

Driving Manuel, at Oran Mor by Denise Mina

Harry Hill, Sausage Time, King's Theatre, Glasgow


Just a quick review of two shows that I've been to this week in Glasgow which maybe highlights the rather random and scatter gun way that I decide what to go and see.

I often end up going to Oran Mor for a lunchtime "Play, a Pie and a Pint" on my day off from work and one of the best plays that I've seen there was by author Denise Mina ("A Drunk Woman Looks At The Thistle"). Also, you've got to acknowledge that she is a person with some taste, making one of the characters in the book Garnethill a Partick Thistle fan (although if memory serves he didn't survive until the end).

I think if she were writing that book today though, after we've just stuffed Livingston FC 6-1, she would have to change a couple of lines from this paragraph. "Partick Thistle FC, known as The Jags, is one of the few Glasgow football teams not associated with either side of the Protestant/Catholic sectarian divide. Their fans are known locally for their passive but exceptional eccentricity and the team are known nationally for being crap". I digress.

Denise Mina had another play on this week, Driving Manuel. The play centres on the true story of Peter Manuel, a serial killer in Glasgow of the 1950's and his bizarre meeting one evening with a relative of three of his victims, William Watt, who the Police of the day believed was responsible for the crimes. It is an intriguing story but it seemed mis-cast with Andy Gray as the malevolent killer, more famed for his hammy comedy acting. At times lines were played for laughs, whilst we were at other times presented with the horrific violence of his crimes. The mood was therefore rather uneven and it felt more like a work in progress that the finished article.

The Glasgow Comedy Festival is in town just now, so when we had the chance of a baby-sitter on Friday night it was a case of seeing who was performing that evening and giving it a go. This had the added bonus of us not having to endure the pain of watching the Scotland team in action against Wales. We plumped for Harry Hill off of the telly, touring just now with his new live show, Sausage Time. I have to say there weren't many belly laughs, but it was spectacularly bonkers in the best traditions of meaningless nonsense such as Vic and Bob and the like specialise in. How exactly do you start off training to be a doctor then end up trying to play James Bond tunes on a trombone, drinking a bucket of water whilst bouncing up and down in a paddling pool? You do feel for the poor souls dragged on stage for these things, who are on a hiding to nothing, but when one of them is a scientist who works on kitchen sinks it almost sounds as if he was a planted Harry Hill character.

As it turns out we made the right choice for our evening's entertainment with Scotland losing 1-2 in the end. That, at least, was predictable.

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