Glasgow International Comedy Festival

The Pieman Cometh

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan, four stars

DUNWEARY FC is on its knees. Not the most useful position for a club that needs to score goals in order to avoid relegation. But if the players have trouble passing the ball accurately, Dunweary’s owner, its board and manager are adept at passing the buck when it comes to the club’s imminent bankruptcy. Enter Alan Ledger, the unassuming accountant whose tactics for side-stepping insolvency are soon falling foul of the blazer-wearing cabal who run Dunweary for the benefit of their own egos. There is also the matter of the famously popular pies. Lose them and it’s game over, permanently, for Dunweary.

If you’re already up-to-speed with the rollercoaster fortunes of Scotland’s football teams then you will relish the on-stage shenanigans that take energy and anecdotes from the experiences of co-writers Bryan Jackson and David Belcher – Belcher, an erstwhile journalist at the Herald, Jackson an accountant whose expertise has brought several clubs back from the brink. However ignorance of footie foibles is not a problem here. The tongue-in-cheek send-ups – where everything from nasal-drawling radio jocks to loud-mouthed, braying tycoons gets spoofed – are wickedly funny, while director Frank Miller and a sparky, match-ready cast embrace the tragi-comic nature of board-room games-play with an infectious glee.

Gavin Jon Wright allows the business-like Ledger moments of visible unease that point up the human cost behind his number-crunching, even as his rising levels of stress are stoked by the antics of Julie Coombe and Callum Cuthbertson in various roles. Coombe gets hilariously macho as the club owner, and as the foul-mouthed manager. Cuthbertson has his own bizarre cameos but it’s as an elderly fan, wistfully reminiscing, that the power of team loyalty comes touchingly centre-stage.