I’m not going to give away the secret, though perhaps you can work it out for yourselves.
Unlike most of the Tron’s productions, this one is held in the Victorian Bar and makes full use of the space. The play is staged in the round, with the bar behind one row of seats. At the end of the row is a leopard print tent. The cast roam in and out of the room, hide under our chairs, sing behind the bar. One actor even serves a member of the audience a drink in the middle of the play.
The costumes, random props and casual atmosphere evoke a festival feel. The actors roam around in sunglasses and dressing gowns, one is barefoot in a raincoat, another in his underwear and an inflatable crown. Someone tries to balance a rubber fish on the yellow ladder centre stage, gives up, and puts in in the plant pot of an orange tree. One mournful, guitar-playing character (Duncan Harte) wears a cardboard sign strung with fairy lights that reads ‘invisible’. Others wield water pistols, and a third throws French bangers around every time she gets angry. She stores them in her bum bag, or ‘waist pack’ as they’re now more politely called. As the play begins, four people climb the ladder and begin wailing.
The fourth wall is constantly broken. We are invited to turn our mobile phones on, Tweet, take pictures. The script jumps between the well-known play I won’t name, and self-consciously witty interruptions. We’re told about scenes they’ve decided to cut or can’t manage without the contributions of an audience member. Swearing and Scots words leak into the familiar script. Some lines are turned into songs, some popular songs are thrown into the mix as well.
The show is a bit too loud for the space it’s in: the drum kit is at times painful to listen to, and the cast a bit shouty. They also break character and laugh in scenes where I think it’s unintentional. This doesn’t necessarily matter given the relaxed, self-reflexive nature of the performance, but the laughter could do with either being obviously deliberate or cut. That said, Meghan Tyler is brilliant in the leading role and Dylan Reid is hilarious as an eternal drunk who tunelessly sings ‘I’m walking on sunshine’ and likes having his boots licked.
This Secret Show is, as one character puts it, definitely better than watching the news. Given that most things are better than that right now, he’s underselling the show, which offers a fun, witty, and raucous night out.
- Design and Directing: Paul Brotherson
- Company: Blood of the Young
- Cast includes: Meghan Tyler, Dylan Reid and Duncan Harte
- Tron Theatre, Glasgow
- 8th – 11th November 2016
- Review by: S. McCracken
- 10 November 2016