Theatre listings >
Theatre Index >>
The Slab Boys
- The Traverse Theatre's Revival of The Slab Boys Trilogy as part of their
40th Anniversary Season. Cuttin'
a Rug and Still
Life are the other two plays.
This play was premiered at The Traverse on 6 April 1978.
Playwright - John Byrne.
Director - Roxana Silbert.
Designer - Neil Warmington.
Lighting Designer - Rick Fisher.
Sound Designer - Neil Alexander.
Assistant Director - Lorne Campbell.
Voice Coach - Ros Steen.
Company - Traverse Theatre Company Edinburgh.
Cast - here .
Venue - Traverse Theatre 0131
In Cambridge St near the Usher Hall
Online booking and lot of info at www.traverse.co.uk
and Virtual Traverse Site.
Dates - Preview
Fri 14 - Sun 16 Nov (8pm)
Wed 19 Nov - Sun 7 Dec (8pm) (not Mons) (post show discussion Thu 20 Nov)
then 6 Jan at 8pm, 10 Jan at 11:30am, 13 Jan 8pm, 17 Jan at 11:30am, 20
Jan at 8pm and 24 Jan at 11:30pm. And then rotation with other
Slab boys trilogy plays then tours Details of rotation
at Traverse and Scottish Tour.
Reviewer - Thelma Good.
Play a bit worn - patches & performances glow.
The Slab Boys - Traverse Theatre Production.
Hector - Alan Tripney and Sadie - Una Maclean.
© Douglas Robertson 2003.
Written nearly thirty years ago and set back in 1957 in Paisley, John
Byrne's play is one often mentioned in dispatches about Scottish theatre
and in the triumphs of the Traverse. It's part of a Trilogy all of which
are being revived as the final crescendo of the Traverse's 40th Anniversary
Season. So how has the first part worn?
On the first night the laughter was patchy, reducing some to helpless
quivering while others sat with barely a smile cracking their faces. Scotland
is still a country divided up into regional personalities and backgrounds,
Byrne's play reflects Paisley's sharp bitter humour, not a humour all
Scots warm to. The play with its references to WW2 experiences, Dr Kildare
( a US medical Drama with clean cut Richard Chamberlain), religious tension
between Catholics and Protestants and side swipes at the upper class English
cads and their expressions is coloured with shades of a region and past
some, foreigners and under thirties may struggle to understand, despite
Teddy boys Phil, Paul Thomas Hickey and Spanky, Iain Robertson,
with the weedy, dweeb Hector, Alan Tripney, are nineteen year olds
slab boys, mixing colours on marble slabs for the designers in a carpet
factory. Phil and Spanky are indolent, always knocking off to pick on
Hector. Trying to keep them under control and failing is Willie Curry,
Michael Mackenzie who harks back to the ghastly conditions in the
desert and the Burma war he claims to have experienced. It's a bullying
unkind culture which the humour frequently plays on, a culture it's hard
to laugh with if you've suffered similarly, even though Hickey
and Robertson deliver us quite a double act in Phil and Spanky.
There's no such problem with tea lady Sadie, in a stuffed full of cream
and lightness performance by Una Maclean. It's a Sadie who shows
why a vending machine can't replace tea and human sympathy. Then there's
the young lad Alan, a clean cut Grant O'Rouke, who's playing the
game of work a different way - one which will get him going forward. Unbelievable
plooky (Scots for spotty) is Jack, once a slab boy now a designer given
a suitably "tholeing it" performance by John Kazek. The
almost fantasy figure of the sharply dressed Lucille is sparkly delivered
by Molly Innes.
Many of the cast are in all the three plays, so the unevenness of the
first night of the Slab Boys may in part be due to that, and the other
two will add enriching strands. But this one, to really be coloured up
and revived to full power, could do with having the audience closer than
the front on minimal thrust layout presently in Traverse One allows. In
1978 I suspect the intimate space of the middle Traverse in the Grassmarket
released more of the surreal elements of the script. Ultimately this part
of Slab Boys Trilogy comes up a bit worn, with some of the pattern hard
to decipher, but in patches it still glows.
© Thelma Good 18 November 2003. - Published on EdinburghGuide.com
Reviews of Cuttin'
The Rug, Still
Life the other plays in the trilogy.
Cast: Spanky - Iain Robertson, Hector - Alan
Tripney, Phil - Paul Thomas Hickey, Willie Curry - Michael Mackenzie,
Jack Hogg - John Kazek, Alan - Grant O'Rourke, Sadie - Una Maclean and
Lucille - Molly Innes.
Full Slab Boy trilogy rotations at Traverse
and Scottish Tour dates:
Tue 6 Jan 8pm The Slab Boys
Wed 7 Jan 8pm Cuttin' A Rug
Thu 8 Jan 8pm Still Life
Sat 10 Jan 11.30am The Slab Boys
Sat 10 Jan 4pm Cuttin' A Rug
Sat 10 Jan 8.30pm Still Life
Sun 11 Jan 8pm Still Life
Tue 13 Jan 8pm The Slab Boys
Wed 14 Jan 8pm Cuttin' A Rug
Thu 15 Jan 8pm Still Life
Sat 17 Jan 11.30am The Slab Boys
Sat 17 Jan 4pm Cuttin' A Rug
Sat 17 Jan 8.30pm Still Life
Sun 18 Jan 8pm Still Life
Tue 20 Jan 8pm The Slab Boys
Wed 21 Jan 8pm Cuttin' A Rug
Thu 22 Jan 8pm Still Life
Sat 24 Jan 11.30am The Slab Boys
Sat 24 Jan 4pm Cuttin' A Rug
Sat 24 Jan 8.30pm Still Life.
Sun 25 Jan 8pm Still Life.
Tour After openng at the Traverse the Trilogy
tours to Glasgow's King's Theatre (3 - 7 Feb), Inverness's
Eden Court Theatre (10 - 14 Feb) and Kirkcaldy's Adam Smith Theatre
(17 - 24 Feb, at each venue you can see all three Plays on the Saturday.
Theatre Editor, Thelma Good's e-mail is
Although every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the
information presented in these pages, no responsibility can be accepted
for any errors or omissions.
Theatre listings >
Theatre Index >>