JOYCE MCMILLAN on FASTER, LOUDER at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 6.9.14.
2 stars **
AT THE HEART of Steven Dick’s new comedy, which opens the autumn Play, Pie and Pint season at Oran Mor, there’s what should be a strong idea for a spot of contemporary absurdist drama. The central character, Gavin, is a depressed middle-aged singleton who spends too much time sitting around his Glasgow flat, drinking cheap wine and surfing the internet. One night, he sends an ill-advised tweet to the effect that if he ever has to listen to a certain teenage rock star’s latest hit again, the singer, one Tyler Mackenzie, will “get harpooned”; cue a police investigation, as Gavin is accused of threatening murder, and a furious army of fans gather outside his house, baying for blood.
“The word became flesh, and dwelt among us!” quavers Gavin, clutching his god-bothering mother’s Bible to his bosom; it’s an interesting thought, in the age of the instantly-powerful “meme”. The trouble is, though, that Dick chooses to explore his theme through such an elderly-looking sitcom format that the effect is often excruciating, right down to the terrible wig worn by isabelle Joss as Gavin’s wretched old stereotype of a mum. The cast are heroic, as Joss, Rosalind Sydney and Harry Ward double and treble their way through a farce-style plot full of ludicrously unconvincing plot-twists, and lumbering instances of politically-correct bureaucracy gone mad; but by the time they fight their way through to the final scene, we’ve largely lost interest in whether Gavin survives his ordeal, or ends up torn limb from limb by one of Tyler’s frenzied fans.