Review: I, Tommy, Gilded Balloon, Teviot

Des McLean as Tommy Sheridan with Michele Gallagher as Gail Sheridan
Des McLean as Tommy Sheridan with Michele Gallagher as Gail Sheridan
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OF course, the Tommy Sheridan extravaganza didn’t really happen as portrayed in this production. And yet it kind of did.

The facts are true, only the dialogue has been changed to lampoon the innocent – and guilty.

****

The story, by Rab C Nesbitt writer Ian Pattison, sticks fairly accurately to the facts in which Scotland’s most popular politician fell from grace and was jailed for perjury.

Add to this the political shenanigans, broken dreams and treachery, and you have the elements for a great story.

What is remarkable is that the story unfolds on a simple set comprising just six chairs and a table. But that’s all it needs; Sheridan (Des McLean) carries the story squarely on his shoulders, mimicking the politician’s delivery, while referring to everybody as brother, and Gail Sheridan as Sister wife.

He also alludes to the politician’s runaway vanity by taking on the guise of various action-figures before a non-existent mirror. And refers to his powers of rhetoric in that he can “talk punters out of comas”.

Non-Scottish audience members might struggle a bit with the idiom, but the bigger problem is that some will approach the subject matter with their political convictions intact, not realising that this is an irreverent reinvention of real-life events.

A tight piece of clever writing, allied with a great cast. Funny, yet strangely sad.

Until August 27