‘Still Game‘ is Scotland’s most loved sitcom. It has captured the hearts of all generations through its brilliant scope on the people of Scotland. Jack and Victor bowed out in spectacular fashion earlier this year in their ninth series of the hit TV show. However, the final farewell is still to be had for some fans of the show. Until 13th October Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill are performing an all new ‘Still Game‘ live show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena. As a big fan of the show, I attended opening night of this extravaganza to see our auld pals Jack and Victor’s final tale.
To avoid spoilers, all I can say is that the show picks up from where the finale of the TV show left off. This show contains some great surprises and lots of laughs. The performance also contains possibly one of Still Game‘s closest to the bone gags.
Ford Kiernan as Jack and Greg Hemphill as Victor are truely Scotland’s best double act. The two have a great dynamic, it’s like a tennis match of humour bouncing off the two actors. These two not only are great performers, but great writers, the final chapter of the Craiglang pensioners is one which is apt and filled with hilarity. Perhaps there is a little bit too much content being shoved in, however, the quality of the content is of a high standard. Another issue is that Jack and Victor are not given as much spotlight as they should be given on their final romp.
Jane McCarry returns as the infamous gobshite, Isa. Jane’s consistency in being able to deliver punchlines really is on point. Her adaptability to bringing this character from screen to stage really is impressive, she reads the limitations that screen brought the character and does well to amplify Isa’s outgoing and outrageous personality for stage. Gavin Mitchell pulls a few more pints as Boabby the bar man (not to be mistaken for Troy the gardener). Gavin is hilarious as the ever sarcastic and ever uncharming Boabby. This character is iconic, Gavin does not disappoint in placing the mullet back on, Boabby is everything you expect him to be within this packed performance. Sanjeev Kohli is back as our favourite shopkeeper, Naveed. Some of the stuff that Ford and Greg have given him in this all new show is simply outrageous, but Sanjeev delivers it so well, while being true to character.
Mark Cox is miserable as the tightwad, Tam Mullen. For myself and possibly many of the audience, Tam really is one of the best characters on stage. This is mainly because of Mark’s delivery of the dialogue and his great transformation into the old schemer. What really adds to this is his dynamic with his auld one-legged pal, Winston, who is played by Paul Riley. Paul has a certain presence on stage that just makes Winston stand out, he also has skills which other comedy actors really struggle with, and one of those skills is acing dead pan comedy. Plus, he is featured in a spectacular musical number which is undoubtly the best and most hilarious in the show.
This show includes a dynamic and versatile ensemble as follows, Darren Brownlie, Stephen Arden, Ross Baxter, Connor McAllister, Rob Sharpe, Sam Murphy, Hannah Pauley, Gillian Parkhouse, Kara Swinney, Dawn Sievewright, Lynsey Brown, Lorna McMillan, Lorraine Graham, Lucy Hutchison, Nakai Warikandwa and Julian Capolei.
There are some more cast members that I would mention but I don’t want to spoil their involvement for all you folks still to see this farewell.
In terms of production Michael Hines returns to direct. Michael’s direction keeps the show as close to the television series as possible with this outlandish script. He keeps the humour in check while also making sure that is big enough for the large audience at the Hydro. Unfortunately, there are definite issues with the timing of this show, everything happens a bit too quickly, the comic timing is great but there is poor timing for the actual plot, there just isn’t a moment for the audience to acknowledge what is happening. Emily Jane-Boyle supplies great choreography which is suited to the music that Tom Urie supplies for this show. Tom is no stranger to the show and selects some very appropriate music for this show, however at points it just seems that some of the numbers are slightly off the tone of the scene. Morgan Large’s design for this show is not affective for the setting of the Hydro. The sets do not fill the stage, they look out of place and are hard to take on and off. The only real set piece which works is the clansman. Richard G Jones supplies lighting which helps to lift the set and matches the shenanigans on stage. Donna Bryce-Macleod’s costume design is spot on, she supplies the iconic characters with suitable and familiar costume for their big outing. Julie Dorrat Keenan’s makeup and hair design works perfectly, apart from the very low budget looking wigs, which completely reduces the production value.
Another huge note is that this production very much feels too small for an arena. It’s hard to understand why Ford and Greg wouldn’t consider performing at a smaller venue such as Glasgow’s King’s Theatre or the Armadillo for a longer period to create a better atmosphere and environment for the audience.
Overall, the writers and cast supply a great performance, however production wise there are some serious flaws which reduce the high standard of performance. Apart from that this production is one which really will be a hit for fans of this much loved TV show and there are loads of throwbacks to earlier series, plus some nodds to Chewin the fat.
Written by Lewis C. Baird
TICKETS AVAILABLE BELOW: