Five stars I feel is a very appropriate rating as it came quickly this is good as we started it at school soon after it was delivered. The updated notes for National 5 also helps as the old Standard Grade version would be of no use to me as the National 5 course is completely different. It was also a play which really grabbed me as it is set in 60's Glasgow. The play was very much in context for that time as part of our course we had to research about 60's Glasgow and the play was spot on.
This deceptively simple play involving only four characters: Davie, his son Alec, his brother Billy and Billy’s son Ian is set in the 1960s in Govan, a poor protestant area of Glasgow. Davie is an almost tragic figure, beaten down since the loss of his job and then the death of his wife. Despite the meagre circumstances in which he and Alec live, he drinks, loses money at the bookies and is dependent on loan sharks, who give him a beating when he is unable to pay their extortionate demands. Alec and he share an easy, relaxed relationship, but as his father sinks ever deeper into despair and is fixated on the past, Alec takes the one route that can take him above and beyond this desperately depressing situation, education, leading eventually to university and a move away from home.
Billy is a bigot, a sectarian Rangers supporting “orange head-breaker who passes on to his son his values and thwarts Ian’s desire to join the army. At the same time Billy cares for his brother and gives/lends him money when Davie is most in need. Ian is a simple lad unable to understand the value of education and trapped by his father’s prejudices. Little beyond the present and football interests him, and we see he and Alec grow increasingly apart.
The play, written in the 1980s, perhaps somewhat under the influence of hostility to Margaret Thatcher’s attack on manufacturing and the unions, shows warmth and caring as well as dreadful loss and poverty. Symbolism and topical music references are among the devices that serve to underpin the significance of the events and the overall situation. It is not, perhaps, a great play but clearly it has theatrical potential – I have not had the opportunity to see it performed – and it concerns issues as alive now as when it was written and when it is set.