Raz

Jim Cartwright

Assembly and Riverside Studios

Assembly George Square Studios

From 06 August 2015 to 31 August 2015

Rating: *****

Review by Robin Strapp

Shane works as a stacker truck driver. It’s a dead-end, low paid job that he hates but come the weekend he escapes from the drudgery as he prepares for his night out on the town in this northern small town.

Raz by Jim Cartwright is a finely observed piece of writing, superbly performed by his son James who captivates the audience for this riveting 50-minute monologue.

We first meet Shane in the tanning studio as he tops up his well-muscled body wearing only his red superman pants.

He has his set routine, from his choice of shirt to his aftershave, and then he has to round up his crew, collect his drug orders and call to arrange to meet his birds on his phone; “I’ve got an aviary in here.” he tells us.

There is the ride into town driven by the Welsh taxi-driver as he sits on a black bouncy ball that represents the taxi.

So the evening’s debauchery begins with a gigantic pub-crawl with his mates, meticulously realised and well-observed in Cartwright’s writing, as he chats up the girls, sells his drugs and gets into a fight.

It’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride of an evening. He even inadvertently performs a stand-up act where he rants about the present political situation, “the only party left for us now and this here, now.”

But there is also a sadness to this 30-year-old who bitterly regrets breaking up with his girlfriend. When he fleetingly sees her, we see another side to his persona.

Getting the mix of drinks and drugs right is vital before hitting the clubs and so the hectic frenetic dancing and effects of the drugs eventually take him to oblivion.

As he makes his long journey home at dawn, he stands at the top of the hill and says, “from here I can see down on the whole town” and cries.

This is a moving, mesmeric play impeccably performed by James Cartwright. and directed with aplomb by Anthony Banks.