South Bend

Martin McCormick
Grid Iron
Gilded Balloon at the Museum
to

If the prologue is to be believed, this picaresque story is autobiographical and true in every respect.

That is the claim from Martin McCormick, who is both leading performer and playwright for an imaginative production directed by Ben Harrison for Grid Iron.

One of the biggest attractions is the intrusive presence of David A Pollock, who acts as both a foley man (visibly creating sound effects) and also an additional character specialising in sarcastic asides.

The starting point for the drama occurred over two decades ago when McCormick had the good fortune to spend a semester in California as an exchange student. This is the fulfilment of a dream for a man who by the age of 11 was totally obsessed with anything and everything to do with the US of A.

There, he fell in love with a sparky but anonymous lady, played deadpan by Jess Chanliau, until they were parted by his return to Glasgow.

The promised exchanges of communications failed to materialise, much to the young man's disappointment, although not for the obvious reason.

Instead, his lady love was the victim of a car accident which left her physically intact but traumatised. In an attempt to normalise, she invites Martin to visit South Bend, Indiana where his welcome from her "mother" is frosty to say the least.

A story that is both highly amusing and touching develops, building to a nicely downplayed ending that tops off a most enjoyable hour.

Philip Fisher