Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer

Iain Heggie

Subway Theatre Company

The Assembly Rooms

From 01 August 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

Subway Theatre Company has asked John Bett to play an archetypal Glaswegian from the time of the American War of Independence.

For just under an hour, the actor expertly portrays a Pooterish figure who eventually ends up on top, despite spending most of the time facing up to life’s vicissitudes.

This was a time when the tobacco industry was a licence to print money. The only exception it seems is Enoch Dalmellington, who somehow backs the wrong horse.

He has little more luck in marrying off his plain daughter, Euphemia. She seems attracted to a pre-Communist whose views on racial equality are centuries ahead of time, which is the last thing that our poor hero needs having gambled away his life savings.

Through his mouth though, visitors learn a considerable amount about Glasgow life almost 250 years ago.

The funniest element of the script is introduced by the Widow Mackay, who spends much of her time visiting a seer. The latter predicts unlikely future developments including carriages that fly and best of all, independence for Scotland.

This solo show is a gentle but most amusing way to spend an Edinburgh lunchtime and does eventually end happily.