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Review: theatre

Fishwrap

Fishwrap

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Keith Bruce

Warned on the way in that Keiran Lynn's play, directed by A Play, A Pie and a Pint debutante Becky Catlin, did not paint a rosy picture of print journalism, I struggled to think of an artistic representation of my trade that did. More strangely, this one even chose to depict a local rag from my home terrain.

When new owners, personified by Louise Ludgate, take over the Clackmannanshire Courier, ambitious Caroline (Helen McKay) is installed as editor over the demoted Thomas (Ben Clifford).

Her steep learning curve, after her success in student journalism, is to distinguish between being a management lackey and an ethical journalist in the real world.

It would be too cynical to apply any of the many amusing lines Ludgate has as the awful Polly St James to the play itself, but her jibe that Caroline wouldn't know the real world if she woke up next to it is very tempting.

The script, of what is ultimately a rather nice romcom, ricochets between the well-researched and all-too-credible (a terse summation of the cost-cutting formula as applied to newspapers), and the absurdly fanciful (a world of flip charts and jargon few of us have time for, and one where venerable old Scottish titles are recruiting rather than shedding staff).

Battling an over-cluttered design, the cast make the most of every sharp line, and there is, crucially, real chemistry between Clifford and McKay.

The packed house seemed quite content with the picture of journalism on stage, but even the title of the piece alludes to an age before chip suppers came in pre-fabricated boxes. And Lynn's wrong about the reproductive enthusiasm of rabbits in Clackmannanshire too.

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