Natali McCleary, Lynsey Brown, Rebecca Donnelly, Darren Brownlie, Ryan Ferrie, Avery Dupuis, Christopher Marshall, Christina Gordon, Beverley Grant, Stephen Arden, Sarah Wilkie, Lucy Ireland, Rob Watson, Nathanael Eyeington, Amy Scott (Dancers/ensemble)
Jack and Victor and their Craiglang pals are back and their hordes of fans are flowing like many tributaries feeding the giant sea that is Glasgow’s colossal venue, the Hydro, to see them. Scotrail is totally on board as they set the mood for train travellers with signs to Craiglang and good natured staff giving good humoured Glesga announcements at the mobbed stop. Before that, at Glasgow Central’s Low Level station, an electronic sign asks travellers, "Aff tae Craiglang for Still Game Live 2 at the Hydro the day? Don't git legless at the Clansman, watch yir footing in the station and buy yir tickets before ye board”.
Once the ‘housekeeping’ rules are hilariously delivered on screen by Methadone Mick (Scott Reid), the Craiglang cast make a series of outrageous entrances with Ford Kiernan (Jack Jarvis) and Greg Hemphill (Victor McDade) entering and being greeted like rock stars.
Turns out the real month of February is on stage. Our bunnetted chums are feeling the cold and have nothing to warm their hearts in the Valentine department. Can Jack and Victor experience a final ‘thrill of the chase’ and get a last waltz like their pal Charlie, played in great ‘chancer’ style by Benny Young?
Can the wonderfully realised stairheid gossip Isa (Jane McCarry) have her dreams she didn’t know she had come true? Will Tam Mullen (Mark Cox), the man with the shortest arms and deepest pockets in Craiglang, mend his miserly ways?
Will Meena the invisible wife of Navid (Sanjeev Kohli) finally appear?
The clue ‘fish and ships’ is on the Clansman blackboard, so in bizarre sitcom style, the whole cast ends up on board the cruise ship Sunset Princess where dreams are dreamt and dances are danced. But their fates follow them to mid ocean and crossed wires abound as we join them on a journey made real by a series of projected polaroids showing the gang’s happy holiday coupons in each port.
Gavin Mitchell (Boabby the barman) gets to channel his other role as Bogart as he pads the decks in fine sartorial taste and Christopher Marshall is outstanding in the Ensemble and as a ship’s gigolo. This voyage may have felt more like a slow boat to China than the Marrakesh Express but its cinematic 1930s’ super liner sumptuousness from designer Ben Stones and the truly splendid dance routines from the superb ensemble make up for that. The In the Navy (not quite) finale is a joy to behold with Hemphill proving himself no’ a bad wee mover as Victor!
If the ghost of Scottish Presbyterian Sundays Past had appeared at the Hydro on Sunday, they’d have turned tail with hands flapping in horror at the sight of drink being taken on the Sabbath. And if they’d heard the language that’s common parlance in the Still Game package they’d have jumped in the Clyde. But this is what the fans love and why Still Game is cult viewing in Scotland and beyond. To see ourselves with all the utterly recognisable problems and trials of daily living and dealing with people you can know a bit too well can be nothing but appealing.
Hemphill described the show on Radio Scotland as a ‘Unique theatrical experience’ and it’s that all right. Still Game 2 Live: Bon Voyage is a titanic show that is gallus with a capita G.
4 – 11 February 2017