Getting the ball rolling is this broad brush comedy from David Ireland whose previous works for PPP (What the Animals Say; End of Desire; Most Favoured) have all been highlights of the programme.
Trouble and Shame isn't cut from the same quality of cloth, but although it has its longueurs (lack of any real dynamic dramatic propulsion, running gags dragged out too long, and an overly sentimental plot device introduced near the end), it also has its amusing moments, including a very funny riff about why, in comparative terms, Celtic are Martin Luther King, and Rangers Malcolm X.
The piece attempts to get to grips with the politics of Northern Ireland by having a peace-loving Glaswegian, Hunter Baxter, played by Paul Riley, attempt to open up a dialogue across the sectarian divide of the country's powerbrokers by kidnapping the First Minister, (Robbie Jack), and his Republican deputy, (Veronica Leer), and knocking their heads together.
Think Gregory Burke's Gagarin Way but without the razor sharp wit, or political analysis that goes any further than simplistic surface dialectic.
While the premise of the kidnapping fails to hold water, and no explanation for how Baxter achieved it is given, the three-strong cast are fine with Leer in particular catching the eye.
Perhaps not a blistering start to the new season, but it is good to see A Play, A Pie, and A Pint's doors open for business once more nonetheless.
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