The Day I Found the Blues

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

five stars

THIS WEEK marks the 400th production under the banner of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, and it proves to be an all-singin’ all-dancin’ beezer gift of a show. Dave Anderson is revisiting 1960 and a family holiday in Girvan. From behind his piano, and with musician Fraser Spiers at his elbow, he bestows reminiscences of his 15 year old self on a posse of talented chameleons who will replay his first romantic encounter while spinning us through the music that made his adolescent pulse race even more than the girl he held hands with. His folks were having their own fun at the Miner’s Welfare, but we’ll come back to that hilarity anon.

For the fresh-faced Junior – Anderson’s teenage self, given just the right degree of gawky naivete by Gregor MacKay – the centre of his holiday universe is the jukebox in Cafe Greco. Slow-sipping a cherryade, he drinks in the sounds of his idols – rock’n’roll renegades, like he wishes he was, as he grooves and moves to Elvis’s rebel yell. Then the King flips over into his version of O Sole Mio, and not even pertly forward girlfriend (Marianne Pedley) could unstitch our hero like this does. Fate, however, intervenes. Our lad discovers Big Mama Thornton’s original Hound Dog and the rest is – well, he’s sitting behind the piano, conjuring up a show that catches an era, the early 60’s, with a shrewd awareness of how we were.

For bigotry and prejudices, Davey Anderson’s Wan Singer, Wan Song sums up the moods of a narrow-minded moment at the Welfare, while Christina Strachan’s Heather Up Yer Kilt is a vaudeville tour-de-force of those “wha’s like us” cliches that we seemingly haven’t outgrown. Glorious entertainment, it deserves many happy returns.

Sponsored by Sol