Kill Johnny Glendenning
22 Oct – 8 Nov
50p – £20.50
The Mumble’s first foray into Glasgow’s theatrical scene was at the Citizens Theatre, an old establishment with an interesting programme of events. It presents entertainment that is palatable for all age groups over the calendar year. It is easily accessible from town centre with good public transport links. Theatre is reasonably priced and it encourages smaller production theatre companies to use the venue for their productions.
On this occasion we were treated to KILL JOHNNY GLENDENNING, a comedy set in the West of Scotland which tramples the fine lines between conflict, carnage and good old-fashioned honest criminality. More of a rampage than a romp, its earthy language and not for the faint hearted, this play is brilliantly performed. It has a tense dark, grisly side but the mood is lifted by the humour and the gentle pace in which it is acted out.
Act 1- A farmhouse in the Ayrshire countryside where two would be goons, Dominic (Philip Cairns) and Skootch, (Josh Whitelaw) hold kidnapped tabloid journalist Bruce,-(Steven McNicoll) and await the arrival of their boss Andrew MacPherson (Paul Samson). The drama unfolds with the accidental killing of tabloid journalist, Bruce (Steven McNicoll) by Dominic (Philip Cairns) & Skootch (Josh Whiteaw) who are keeping a watchful eye over Bruce whilst gangster boss, MacPherson (Paul Samson) is on route to deal with him.The arrival of Macpherson brings a few moments of reality to the proceedings, until reggae-loving, ex revolutionary Johnny Glendenning (David Ireland) drops in and mayhem ensues.
Act 2 Set as a prequel to the first act, it takes place in the home of the sleazy journalist where we meet Kimberley (Joanne Thomson), partner of Dominic and niece to MacPherson, & find out just how circumstance led us to the farm, bring resolution to this complex tale.
The playwright, DC Jackson, doesn’t pull punches, (although the cast did once or twice in the fight scenes). The dialogue is wryly observed and well executed with just a few nods to the contemporary technological world we live in.All the cast did a grand job but for me it was David Ireland who stole the show with his portrayal of psychotic Johnny Glendenning, who gave a masterful performance as a psychotic throwback to “the Troubles” Elsewhere, Samson’s understated performance is reminiscent of the casual brutality of Glasgow crime bosses in the 1980’s, and although both Cairns and Whitelaw play their scenes for laughs, their very clumsiness gives a sinister reality to the business at hand. Ireland produces . His menacing character see-saws through the hee-haws and gasps of the audience with a hilarious and sometimes frightening flair.
All in all, this was an interesting and entertaining outing; one to whet the appetite for future collaborations between Citizens and Royal Lyceum. THREE STARS
Reviewer : Cai Storrie