Liam Rudden: Still Game on stage is surreal thing

Victor (Greg Hemphill) and Jack (Ford Keirnan) .Pic: BBC
Victor (Greg Hemphill) and Jack (Ford Keirnan) .Pic: BBC
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SITTING in The Clansman on Friday night (yes they’ve built a replica Clansman at the SSE Hydro), ahead of the stage version of Still Game, I’d little idea what to expect.

Accompanied by my very own Craiglang favourite, Silverknowes actress Kerry Hamilton (aka Stacey the pizza girl), it was clearly going to be a surreal evening, especially as we quickly found ourselves amid an impromtu pre-show slosh: “Sunday morning up with the lark...” and all that.

12,000 fans of the BBC Scotland sitcom are rolling into the Hydro for each performance, all eager to see Jack, Victor, Isa, Boaby, Navid and the gang in the flesh. It’s a phenomenal number and a lesson in programming for smaller venues struggling to attract a fraction of that. Get the product right and people will spend their hard-earned cash.

Segueing filmed inserts and stand-up into the live action, Still Game creates an atmosphere reminiscent of the good old fashioned music hall. Indeed, you could say Jack and Victor are today’s Francie and Josie.

That said, they couldn’t do it on their own. As the show bounces along from one gag to the next, it’s an ensemble piece, although Gavin Mitchell’s Boaby The Barman and Jane McCarry’s nosey neighbour Isa Drennan, steal more than their fare share of the glory.

By the time Still Game ends its 21-day run on 10 October, it will have played to the best part of a quarter of a million. That’s some achievement, and a record that will be hard to beat.

In the meantime, if it’s a fun-filled hour or three you fancy in the company of Craiglang’s wonderfully misbehaved pensioners, tickets are still available at £30-£45 each, call 0844-395 4000 or visit www.thehydro.com.

But remember, it is surreal.