JOYCE MCMILLAN on 3, 6 & 36 at the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, for The Scotsman 20.10.14.
4 stars ****
SARAH LONGFIELD is 36, and her little sons, Ben and Ollie, are 6 and 3; and in the summer just past, they had the most wonderful time enjoying Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, and all the activities surrounding them. It takes a performer in a thousand, though, to realise that two little lads as young as Ben and Ollie are perfectly capable of rehearsing, learning and performing a gorgeous 50-minute show about their experience, alongside their mum. And so in the little Citizens’ Studio, we hear them talking us through their family films and pictures, offering up their own version of the opening ceremony (with spoon puppets), discussing the issues arising from the Games (Ben is particularly good as a range of Glasgow taxi drivers), and cheering on little Ollie as he indulges in the Olympic toddler sport of waking up Mum at 6.30 in the morning.
The show that emerges is really the most glorious hymn to the pure joy of motherhood. Sarah Longfield adores her gorgeous boys; and it’s impossible to resist a show that reveals an outwardly ordinary woman so transfigured by love and joy. Yet this beautiful little show also tells us a great deal about the Games, and about the strange, transforming summer through which Scotland has just lived. And it’s inexpressibly moving to hear that summer described in the small, joyful voices of the generation that have most to gain and lose from the decisions we make each day; and not only from the huge political choice we faced, in the magical year when Ollie was 3, Ben was 6, and Sarah was 36.