Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

five stars

Like second day soup, this oh-so-welcome second staging of Spuds has acquired some lip-smacking additional flavours without losing, or compromising, any of the zany wit and invention that made the piece so deliciously more-ish in the first place.

Hark back to June 2017 and the mini-musicals strand in the Play, Pie and Pint programme. Andy McGregor’s Spuds was my five star highlight of that particular PPP genre, and if I could bestow further stars on this sharp, sparky revival, I would: it is an all-round beaut, where McGregor’s music, lyrics and direction combine in a roguishly-comedic cautionary tale about drugs, greed and reprisals.

You could say it’s Breaking Bad with a Glesca’ accent, but that would short-change the way Spuds cocks-a-snook at the West End ambience outside the venue. Recently widowed David (Richard Conlon, in top form) craves trendy West End cachet but – without his late wife’s income – can no longer afford it. But wait! as a drunken David sleeps, his discarded chips soak up the spillage from a cheap version of Irn Bru, resulting in the highly addictive, hallucinogenic substance soon known as ‘Spuds’.

A verse and a chorus or two later, and David is Mr Big, raking in loadsamoney and shocking even his spoilt, acquisitive daughter, Daisy with his now-obsessive greed.

Don’t bother trying the chips’n’skoosh gambit at home – the real secret lies in Toni the Chippie’s deep fat fryer. Returning to the role of Toni, the exuberantly versatile Darren Brownlie – he’s the linking narrator and much else besides – adds some salt and sauce to his original camp-tastic characterisation.

Meanwhile Dawn Sievewright slips deftly under the conniving skin of Daisy for the first time, adding her tremendous singing voice to those of Conlon and Brownlie. Pianist Gavin Whitworth (playing live) and a chorus of extras give this beezer three-hander the gloss and swagger of a bigger- budget musical – Class A entertainment, folks, and entirely legal!