The Wall

D C Jackson,
Borderline Theatre Company in association with The Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, and touring
(2008)

Everybody's walked past a Rab McGuire - tracksuit clad, weed smoking school kid with more than his fair share of opinions. But have you ever bothered to look beneath the tracksuit? Have you ever bothered to look farther than any school kid's outfit which seems to so obviously imply their chosen social sphere? In most social situations, if you see Rab sitting on a wall, throwing a tennis ball about and looking menacingly at the corner shop you would swiftly cross the road. However, Daniel Jackson's play The Wall offers a hilarious and thought provoking insight into not just the life of Rab but the entire network of strange social situations brought about by the school summer holidays in the small town of Stewarton.

A surprising amount can happen on a wall - relationships are made and broken, family problems are released into the open and the teenager who's had one too many to drink can lean over it for a time until the contents of their stomach has been projected forth for all to see. The typical saying 'if only the walls had ears' would not be out of place in this play, except that in this privileged circumstance the audience are the ears (and indeed the eyes). For just under two hours, the audience are privy to all kinds of intricate private details and interactions which seem to have been transplanted from the social happenings of a wall in any small Scottish town and plonked down in all their rawness and accuracy on the stage of the Tron.

For a play that was originally written in the space of the Stewarton to Glasgow train journey and finished off at work the next day, it is a work of comic magic. Jackson takes us back to the time when we were awaiting our Higher results and the world was our 'osprey'. Yet underneath the satire and the roaring laughter from the audience, the play really digs in to our compassion and forces us to remember and look again at our school days of the past and see them afresh with all the agony and suffering that that went along with them.

The cast consists of Scott Hoatson, Kirstin McLean, Finn den Hertog and Sally Reid who offer such brilliant performances that it is as if they have caught you and dragged you into their lives leaving you so engrossed that you couldn't leave even if you tried.

The plot is very Hollyoaks, yet the 'it would never happen' aspect adds to the drama and highlights the little details which always make a play stand out. Leaving the theatre, there was many a gushing statements of 'that's the most I've laughed in ages!' and I couldn't help but agree.

Alison Burns