Eilidh Loan
Tron Theatre Company with the National Theatre of Scotland
Cumbernauld Theatre at the Lanternhouse

Listing details and ticket info...

Moorcroft: Martin Docherty Credit: Joe Connolly and Jamhot

There is a thin line between cliché and authenticity. That there is a line, because both are based on the truth. Moorcroft treads the boards of this with skill and ease. The music of the eighties is used creatively in a manner which gives us a background, a feeling for the time which bounces the issues round their penalty box in a manner which is akin to a Barca masterclass.

Up front, our Messi, Martin Docherty, as Garry, manages to provide a sumptuous opening which promises guts and glory and no Arsenal back fours. There is to be no offside trap, but there is. When we are looking towards one character’s demise, they hit us with another and there is no VAR to bring him back. That it also deals with a complex man who’s next to fall from his defensive pairing, which is no surprise, but it is dealt with without a glory of a 97th minute penalty rescue. This is a tragedy, not writ large but mentioned because of its impact and lessons to be learned.

Moorcroft structurally is a game of two halves. It has a beginning with Garry recruiting the weans he played with as adults in a fitba team. The bonding and the relationships lead to the exposure of issues and attitudes “of the time”. There is no dressing things up—people speak their minds and their minds are ill-disguised as disease-ridden. But the working class were accepting of diversity and punishing through the banter in equal measure.

That the latter has grown whilst the former has lessened is testimony to the vulnerabilities of being in poverty. They are not the factors in voting for one party or another but of a society where discussion has lessened and opening up has still got stigma attached to it. The fact that Garry, our guide, by the end is still suffering though he appeared not to be suffering before shows all we wanted to know about the problems faced by those of us who came through a working-class upbringing with poverty hanging over us.

But this is a theatrical event.

The dance integrated within, the music hinted at then played with such fervour, the physical theatre used for both effect and explanation and the interplay of characters show this to be a superior testimony to what people felt, breathed and suffered during the 1980s. but what shines through is the community that didn’t exist, the people who were ignored and the spirit which continues to shine all over the Scotland of the 21st century.

Performances are flawless and recognisable, Mince (Bailey Newsome) is a hoot with acute comic timing, Paul (Sean Connor) nuanced with rage and vulnerability at all times, Noodles (Santino Smith) played with a nod to the yuppyness of the times and the pathos of wanting to leave and the desire to stay, Mick (Jatinder Singh Randhawa) shows the anger of micro-prejudice dressed up as banter which thwarts the abilities of so many in our communities in a way that explodes when it needs to, Sooty (Kyle Gardiner) is the outsider who is accepted but takes the whole acceptance into his heart even though it is breaking and the ultimate outsider of the time, Tubbs (Dylan Wood), plays it more than straight—ironically—meaning that from the very first reference of him as Freddie Mercury to his outing is beautifully crafted and delivered.

Script, direction and the technical effects match their onstage presences. It also shows what can happen when you have a decent run at a show and don't have it making a few wee appearances and then disappearing into a Nick Hern publication on a shelf.

I was in a theatre filled with people hee-hawing and laughing throughout. Those who came to see the show who may have never been to see a show before because someone somewhere made them feel that the theatre was not for them rose at the end with tears in their eyes. That’s the review they deserve. Not some middle-class academic saying it is rather good. As these people took their seats, Pringles tubes opened to pass round, boxes of nachos precariously held out for sharing and crunching and coffee perched at dangerous angles as they took their seats and then forgot they had their fare to eat as they saw themselves on a real stage is what made this work.

I have buried a Paul, have watched a Noodles fall and seen a Sooty die of a disease so dreadful nobody could help. Their representatives onstage were fitting tributes and spoke as they did—with passion, power and the need to tell their stories, their way. This has been taken and been transformed into a theatrical powerhouse that truly avoids all of the clichés of men no being able to talk tae each another and delivers a winner in the 98th minute from a corner that bangs off someone’s backside and hits the onion bag.

Reviewer: Donald C Stewart

*Some links, including Amazon,,, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

Are you sure?