Preview: The Slab Boys, King’s Theatre

The Slab Boys. Pic: Comp
The Slab Boys. Pic: Comp
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THE Slab Boys are back, reuniting two of the best known names in Scottish theatre, John Byrne and David Hayman, at The King’s this week.

Playwright Byrne and director Hayman return to the work they first brought to the stage in 1978, and which has since gone on to become a modern working-class classic. It’s the first time the pair have worked together since that landmark premiere at the Traverse.

Byrne’s seminal work paints a vivid and unflinching depiction of the tough, rebellious, working class culture of 1950s Scotland.

The Slab Boys influenced a generation of writers earning a place in the list of one of the 12 key plays of the last 40 years as chosen by the National Library of Scotland.

In the technicolour confines of the slab room of AF Stobo & Co Carpet Factory in Paisley, young boys have to grow up fast.

Strutting adolescent double act Phil and Spanky are passing the time with an endless verbal tug o’ war and merciless ribbing of their workmates and boss.

But even the distractions of the annual staff dance, the monthly pay packet or the unattainable Lucille can’t stop Phil from dreaming of becoming an artist. The sharp, witty exchanges of Byrne’s charismatic Phil and Spanky, fully articulate the frustration of a generation battling against a staid establishment.

Hayman, who also appears as gaffer Mr Currie, alongside his son Sammy Hayman as Phil, and Jamie Quinn, best known as Mac in BBC’s Bluestone 42, as Spanky, says, “It is especially exciting to be revisiting The Slab Boys which is one of the most important and iconic pieces of theatre to come out of Scotland in the last 30 years.

“It is a celebration of working class life, a wonderful story of high hopes and lost dreams.”

Also in the cast are River City stars Scott Fletcher, as the long suffering Hector and Keira Lucchesi as the unattainable Lucille. Edinburgh favourite Kathryn Howden, James Allenby-Kirk and Kieran Baker complete the cast.

Hayman adds, “And it is a privilege to be working again with the great John Byrne who is designing the show.”

The Slab Boys, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, tonight-Saturday, 7.30pm (matinees 2.30pm), £19-£25, 0131-529 6000