Gagarin Way, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Friday 25 March 2011
In 2001, five years before the world-conquering Black Watch, Gregory Burke wrote Gagarin Way (the name of an actual street in Fife). A black comedy in which two Scottish archetypes kidnap a third, with a fourth getting embroiled in the action because he has forgotten his hat, it was the sensation of that year's Edinburgh Festival and transferred to the West End.
Now Jordan Young, one of Black Watch's original raw recruits, is old enough to play Eddie in Rapture Theatre's major revival of the earlier piece. Young is pitch-perfect as the self-taught psychopath who teams up with disillusioned left-winger Gary to abduct one of the senior managers of their Japanese-owned factory in Dunfermline. Gauche graduate Tom, the night watchman, thinks he is helping the pair steal microchips. Returning to the stockroom to retrieve his cap, he discovers their plan unravelling.
Their captive is not an anonymous, non-English speaking, multinational-running political symbol. Under his sack, he is a dishevelled management consultant from Leven, a few miles up the Fife coast. They want to shoot a global raider from the other side of the world, as "propaganda of the deed". Instead, they get Dave Anderson as a weary fellow Fifer, fed up with his lonely life of departure lounges and prostitutes, pleading with them to get on with it.
Ten years on, Burke's writing remains crispy and satisfying. The first half, in which the menacingly articulate Eddie torments the younger, slower Tom (Finn Den Hertog) is a delight. But when Eddie has to turn from intellectual pyrotechnician to nihilistic assassin, something goes awry. Director Michael Emans doesn't quite push it far enough into the black and the gory ending feels like a get-out rather than a nihilistic full stop.
To 26 March (0141 552 4267) then touring (www.rapturetheatre.co.uk)
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