Pitiless Storm, Assembly Rooms, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Fair Pley
Chris Dolan (writer), Jim Lister & Stephen Wright (producers), David Hayman Jr. (director) David Thompson (lighting design)
David Hayman (Bob Cunningham)
Running time

One man’s poignant journey to a pivotal political decision.

The stage is set for a Trade Union meeting. Bob Cunningham (David Hayman), longstanding stalwart of the Left, steps up on to the red carpet, worsted for political symbolism not celebrities, with a sheaf of papers. The central podium shows the sign for the fictitious TU Unity. Two red chairs flank the stage.

The theatre’s fourth wall is instantly smashed like a barricade by Hayman as he shows this old campaigner’s uncharacteristic anxiety at making a speech. His having been awarded an OBE is a catalyst to his appraising his view of the world in the light of the forthcoming Referendum on Scottish independence. He is fully aware of the anomalies of reconciling old leftist views of internationalism and solidarity with the realities of recent New Labour policies and ironically finds himself being personally torn apart while thinking of union in bigger arenas. The voices of his ex-wife, his father, his son, and his younger self haunt and taunt him as he struggles with his inner schism.

This is a powerful piece of political theatre delivered in Hayman’s strong Glesga voice. The text is perfectly peppered with lines from Bowie songs, a hero from Bob’s youth showing that someone can still be ‘17 in yer heid’ at any stage in life. Planning a bus trip from Glasgow to London to collect his medal is unlikely even for the most ardent working class loyalist, but it may have been a ploy to demonstrate Bob’s class loyalty despite his current standing.

This highly political exposé of a principled man’s ‘internal pandemonium’ has been brilliantly scripted by Chris Dolan and passionately delivered by David Hayman. It is steeped in emotion and beautifully topped and tailed by a fine version of Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come all Ye from Arthur Johnstone. The ending showing Bob’s ultimate reconciliation with his demons is raw, rousing and utterly heartfelt (or should that be ‘hearthfelt’?) with the almost Christ-like statement ‘I am you’. Don’t say ‘Naw’ to this show!

The show ends with a short Q & A session.
Age suitability 14+
1-24 August (not 11), £13/£15