Theatre: Dead Dad Dog Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Neil Cooper, Four stars

If you can remember the 1980s, you probably weren’t there. If those who were there need a refresher course, they could do worse than check out this long overdue revival of John McKay’s play, which first graced the Traverse’s old Grassmarket home in 1988.

This saw McKay take his work from street theatre combo The Merry Mac Fun Co onto the main stage before embarking on a career as a film and TV writer, director and producer.

McKay’s trajectory might just mirror the future life of young Eck, whose preparations for a job interview with BBC Scotland in 1985 are rudely interrupted by his dad Willie, who makes his unreconstructed presence felt in everything Eck does.

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This is the case from the interview itself to the local barbers before he joins Eck on his date in a fancy style bar.

This would be mortifying enough for any young shaver with ideas above his station attempting to shake off his roots and make his way in the world. Given that Willie has been 12 years dead, this is even more the case, with Eck unable to stray too far from Willie’s side without experiencing celestial electric shocks.

What follows in Liz Carruthers’ playful 70-minute production is a game look at the everyday tricks loss can play on those still grieving.

Thirty-six years on from the play’s original outing, there is heaps too about working class aspiration in the face of familial ties that bind.

While Eck’s go-getting ambition taps into the 1980s zeitgeist of a free market media class, McKay’s pointed observations about social divides reveal how little has changed in the interim.

Angus Miller and Liam Brennan bring all this to life with comic brio as Eck and Willie in Carruthers’ production, presented by Old School and Stories Untold Productions in association with Neil McPherson for London’s Finborough Theatre.

With a sequel by McKay in the works bringing Eck’s story up to date, this theatrical flashback may now be a period piece, but it remains a lovingly written rites of passage in which letting go and moving on are a matter of life and death.