Goodbye Jimmy

Alasdair Gray
A Play, A Pie and a Pint
The Jamhouse, Edinburgh, and Oran Mor, Glasgow
(2006)

Goodbye Jimmy is a well-executed rumination on God, his son, and his creations. Little more than a forty-minute discussion on the merits and failings of the human race, Gray's script nonetheless raises interesting questions and ideas for the audience's consumption.

As the titular Jimmy, John Mulkeen is a likeable enough chap, trying to shock his father out of his laid-back meditations and into action that will restore humanity's faith. Sean Scanlan, as the unrufflable Head (i.e. God), is like your dear old granddad, witty and verbose but utterly set in his ways.

The design is simple, consisting of black flats, geometric shapes, and a number of mathematical equations; Rita McGurn has used the limited space well, especially in her incorporation of a large projection screen; for the first time in the series, the Jamhouse feels opened up, with this celestial play taking full advantage of the space available.

Gray raises a few interesting issues in Goodbye Jimmy; the one that stood out most for me did so because of a book I'm in the middle of, which looks at the effects of early church fathers' editing on modern-day conceptions of the Devil. In Jimmy, Gray explores the notion that Jesus and Satan might be two sides of the same coin - although this notion is only lightly touched on, it caught my attention.

Although fairly static, Goodbye Jimmy was a good example of 'philosophy-lite' theatre; enough to get one's mental juices flowing while not putting anybody under too much stress early on a Saturday afternoon.

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Reviewer: Rachel Lynn Brody