The Day The Pope Emptied Croy
A Play A Pie And A Pint
You can’t take Croy out of the bhoy and you can’t take the bhoy out of Croy either, is the chilling message of this week’s Play A Pie And A Pint directed by Emma Callender. Set in Croy (pretty much a Protestant-free zone at the time) during Pope John Paul The Second’s pastoral visit to the UK in 1982 and, in particular, on the day of his giant open-air mass in Bellahouston Park Glasgow, this three-handed play explores themes of religious bigotry, homophobia and general small-town small-minded ignorance. Opening to the strains of Anarchy In The UK, we see Barr (Keiran Gallagher) entering a Catholic church in Croy while sniffing glue from a plastic bag. Everyone has gone to Bellahouston Park to see the Pope and the church is lying empty-perfect for a bit of thieving.
His punk pal Ranald (Nathan Byrne) follows him in. Ranald is a punk anarchist agnostic and therefore branded as “a proddy bastard” by the townsfolk. Regularly spat on and abused, he has one aim and that is to get out of Croy. Barr is going to escape with him to a squat in Newcastle and the trip is going to be financed by stealing the church’s chalice, which is prised from its cabinet using a crowbar. During this scene we are treated to some very entertaining and hilarious banter, but always with a biting edge to it.
Ranald finds a school jotter in Barr’s bag and there is a suggestion of concealed homosexuality contained in some of the drawings inside. Without spoiling the reveal it transpires that they are not alone in the church and Chris(t), played by Sean Purden Brown, is trapped behind the altar. He is a transvestite who has been badly beaten along with his friend Paul while returning home from Bennets Bar in Glasgow by balaclava- wearing thugs wielding a crowbar.
The play puts its message across in a very uncompromising fashion, which took some of the audience aback. They came expecting a comedy and left stunned. The sense of doom at the close is palpable. Those not familiar with the sectarian difficulties of the West of Scotland might be at a bit of a loss to understand what’s going on, but, nonetheless, the issues at stake can be transposed to just about any part of the world. Recommended, if uneasy, viewing.
Reviewer : Dave Ivens
THE PLAY WILL ALSO BE COMING TO THE TRAVERSE, EDINBURGH
Tuesday 24 – Saturday 28 March, with an additional Friday night performance at 1pm