STILL GAME | THEATRE REVIEW
In the first time since it’s original run, comedic genius’ Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill have given out the rights to their original stage play that started the legend that is ‘Still Game’.
Kenny Boyle and Clare Shephard’s theatre company Sonic Boom gained the rights to the hit play after actor Gary Miller pursuing Kiernan and Hemphill for it for years.
I have to say I was in two minds whether to go see this production as I am a big fan of the original and even more so of the television version that spanned 6 cracking series. Luckily I wasn’t let down by the new team in Craiglang. The cast John Love as Jack, Christpher McKiddie as Victor and Gary Miller as Winston brought these characters to life injecting originality and managed to pay homage to the original portrayals by Kiernan, Hemphill and Riley but not falling into impersonations. Without a doubt a difficult balance, more often than not tipped too far towards what’s been done before, so my hat comes off to the cast for getting that balance just right.
I asked Mr Hemphill what he thought of the reinvention of his baby and he replied,
"I thought it was great. Freaky to watch something that's so close to you but the boys did an amazing job!”
On that note a little attention to the original material I think is in order... It’s a very well written and structure piece of writing, the characters a very well fleshed out and the material give a real sense of time and place, which is reflected even more so in this production with the tight direction, set design and subtle but effective use of lighting.
It’s a fair assumption that most people who decide to go and see this production have probably not seen the original play though will be very familiar with the television version, the one huge difference between the play and the tv series is the use of very strong language, clearly the boys had to tone it down and find more creative uses of language to be able to have it broadcastable on national television so obvious f’s and c’s that are widely used on stage had to be left behind on screen. I have to say I had forgotten about this and it did shock me at first and you could feel that in the audience as perhaps a little out of place, no reflection what so ever on this great production, this just a testament to how familiar the television version is to people and how the smallest change in tone is clearly noticed.
So to sum up, a great night at the theatre, I laughed a lot, and was deeply moved by some of the more poignant moments, strong performances that do justice and tribute to some of the most well written and well loved characters of Scottish comedy.