Hoors


shows_hoors02

A Scottish word meaning ladies of the night.  Not particularly a term of affection and one used frequently in Fife where people refer to one another as “ya hoor ye.”

It’s an appropriate title then for Gregory Burke’s latest play which is currently premièring at he Traverse because Burke is fiercely proud of his Fife-ness.  His first play ‘Gagarin Way’ is named after a street in Fife which, in turn, is rather randomly named after the famous cosmonaut who has, to my knowledge, as much Fife Blood in him as I have Russian.

The Black Watch, the regiment that inspired Burke’s tour de force, are largely recruited from Fife, and Hoors is set in Fife in the aftermath of a calamitous stag night where the bridegroom to be only goes and dies.

We open in the bride to be’s living room as she prepares for the following day’s funeral with her sister; pishing it up.

They’re waiting on a couple of lads.  The ‘brides’ bit on the side and his mate; a right Jack the lad (in his shady past).

The play, literally, rotates between the bride’s bedroom and living room where various debates and revelations unravel themselves over the next hour and a half.

Sex and death.  Or shagging and copping it are the main themes in a show that is peppered with hilarious one-liners and foul-mouthed observations.  But great insights and depth of meaning seemed pretty thin on the ground.  That’s fine by me, as not everything has to carry the burden of enlightenment with it.  But I gather Mr Burke is a bit hacked off with the post-Black Watch expectations which mark this, to some,  as a weak follow up.

I can’t comment.  I’ve read Gagarin Way which I liked very much but I didn’t see the Black Watch.

Both Jeana and I enjoyed this.  But it’s a Chinese meal of a play.  Good at the time but you’re still craving a chippy at midnight.

No one will ever forgive us, by The National Theatre of Scotland at The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh


trav-nts-nwefu

Well.

Here’s a one.

I have to declare two interests from the outset.

I am a Catholic.

My cousin (Susan Vidler) is in this play.

So I’m biased.

Paul Higgins, may be the most remarkable new stage-writing talent since Gregory Burke.  It really is written brilliantly, flowing along at 100 miles an hour packed with hilarious one liners, and I believe it’s autobiographical. (Actually it’s very unfair of me to heap this comparative praise on Paul Higgins given my lack of comparative insight; but if he isn’t the best then Scottish Theatre is absolutely booming.)

I urge you to see this play before it is too late. (It was pretty much sold out on a dreich Tuesday in late November.)

It’s a fantastic smorgasbord of Scottishness. As the nation of doom we like to dwell on the dark side and this does it magnificently. I honestly have never encountered a script, in film or on stage, that leaps like Bambi on steroids, between bleak nihilism and outrageous humour, line by line, quite as well as this.

It is remarkable.

The main theme centres on belief 9or lack of it). I suppose the key character in the five person cast is the youngest son who has opted out of the seminary (or is that safe haven?) that he has studied at for seven years because he has become atheistic. Is there a God? Is there a Catholic God (OMG)? Is there a point? Why should I coexist with you? Have I a future?

But, at the gleaming, glowing, pulsating, dangerous centre of it all is the horrific patriarch, Gary Lewis. What a performance. The drunk, child-beating, wife-hating (but actually not particularly misogynistic) husband engulfs the stage with his presence.

It is massive.

The audience howled with tears and laughter and, for me, it was another triumphant National Theatre of Scotland performance. I’ve seen three this year in three different theatres.

They all demonstrated our brilliance.