Ah Dinnae Ken
Student Theatre At Glasgow (STAG)
theSpace @ Niddry St
The Independence Referendum was a truly divisive period in Scottish politics and, taking a humourous jab at this, Ah Dinnae Ken imagines the events of a second referendum by means of Romeo and Juliet.
We meet a pair of families, living across the street from each other, both on opposite sides of the debate: a yellow-clad family of Yes voters, plotting to murder 6% of No voters, and the blue-clothed No voting family with an obsession about baking Union praising shortbread. Of course, this being a play on the Bard, there's a star-crossed romance brewing, and all manner of farcical hijinks about to ensue.
It's quite a feat that this play is performed in-the-round, with some smart blocking and choreography to ensure that at no point any angle feels like excluded from the action. Moreover, with the same four actors playing both families with minimal and speedy costume changes, it's genuinely impressive how smoothly it runs, and no surprise that the show has been selling out.
As well as the familiar, there are a pair of news presenters, amusingly named Jackie and Bird, who take great pains to point out their impartiality and to make clear that this story is a microcosm of a wider nationwide issue. Although it's interesting to note that despite the great pains taken by the presenters to mention that both sides are guilty of some criminal activity, it's the Yes voting family who are plotting murder and it's the crimes of Yes voters that are specifically mentioned in the news reports. Read into that what you may.
However, the play is a wonderfully amusing romp and filled with some fine acting turns, some genuinely good laughs. Despite something of a weak and messy finish, it's a perfectly enjoyable bit of fluff that delights in lampooning the silliness of the tribalism in Scottish political feeling.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan