Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Out on the Wing" - March 2008

Although we'd been to Oran Mor's 'A Play, A Pie and A Pint' season before for "100" that was for an evening 'dinner' performance rather than the 'proper' lunchtime shows. But how could I resist a show based around a Glasgow radio station's football phone-in? Surely a setting that was bound to provide fantastic material for D C Jackson's "Out on the Wing"? And it certainly lived up to expectations.

We meet football pundits Rab (Barrie Hunter) and Phil (Stewart Porter) along with their producer Lindsey (Louise Ludgate) as they prepare for their final show. Phil is off to bigger things while Rab's career prospects are less certain, but first they have to get through one last show on the night a Scottish football star has been 'outed'. The plot is simple but effective (as it has to be in a 50 minute show) and works to make characters more than two dimensional stereotypes. The differences between the characters' 'on-air' and 'off-air' personas are really interesting and it's nicely ambiguous as to where our sympathies should lie.

There are excellent comedy moments here for those who know their football, with the 'punctuation' debate over a Tartan Army favourite song amongst the highlights. In general it takes a fair bit to make me laugh out loud but there were at least half a dozen moments here that got me going. But it also has serious points to raise about attitudes to homosexuality and the subtle comparison with the sectarian divide raises interesting questions. At times this feels like a well established sitcom and I'm sure there would be potential for more of this, which makes the inclusion of a completely unnecessary 'toilet humour' scene both disappointing and bewildering. But that's the only aspect of the show that didn't hit the mark for me.

Porter, Hunter and Ludgate all give great performances with Porter making the most of the comedy material. Hunter does a brilliant job of portraying Rab's unease at the position has found himself in, while Ludgate manages to avoid making Lindsey's voice-of-reason too self righteous.

This is a great wee show in a great wee venue and I'm determined to get along to a few more of these lunchtime shows in the coming weeks. And we've also got D C Jackson's other current play - "The Wall" - to look forward to at the end of the month.

"Out on the Wing" runs at Oran Mor until Saturday 22nd March.

Image by Leslie Black used with permission.