Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

four stars

IT IS May and the trees are in leaf, sap is rising and young Kevin has a rising interest in girls that he’d rather not confess to his local priest. That reluctance is really because the Father is also his uncle, and the lad knows that the seal of the confessional doesn’t prevent his uncle from telling all to Kevin’s mum. So Kevin (Cameron Fulton) makes us his confidantes instead, stepping out of the episodic 1980’s sit-com framework to comment on family matters and the heart-stopping progress of his first ever relationship with a girl.

Writer David Weir – born in Edinburgh, now based in London – has already seen his work staged south of the border, but this rollicking peek into a sixteen-year old’s growing pains is the first play he’s had performed in his native land. It ticks a lot of boxes with the Play, Pie and Pint audience, delivering the kind of joshing banter that nudges them in the ribs and trades on the affectionate familiarity we have with the highs and woes of adolescence. For Kevin, however, there are added complications: his uncle has decided that Kevin’s future lies not in the bosom of his girlfriend, but in the priesthood. Shock! horror! and another layer of hilarity, played for all it’s worth (and more) by Jonathan Watson as Father Ignatious.

While Fulton, as Kevin, has a lot of comic advantages as the knowing narrator – masking sharp-witted mickey-taking behind a gloss of compliance – and Sally Reid, playing Kevin’s mother/grandmother/ schoolgirl siren, is every comedic woman Weir and director, Ryan Alexander Dewar need, it’s Watson who makes off with the honours in no fewer than five quick-changing guises. From bolshie grandfather to pillar of the Catholic seminary, by way of teacher, parent and uncle/priest, he gives every morsel of humorous repartee its own, irresistibly entertaining character.

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