Doubting Thomas 3*** - One4Review
one4review | On 18, Aug 2016
This piece of devised theatre based on the writings of Thomas McCrudden, an ex underworld enforcer in Glasgow is engaging, relevant and important.
The cast who, working in director Jeremy Weller’s signature framework, devised the show together, includes 5 ex-offenders who have build their own experiences and stories around the key narrative that is McCrudden’s life. And what a life it has been, filled with the most gruesome, mindless, even bizarre violence – a life with no emotional connection, existing in a world that is barely noticed by those outwith its tight confines.
A lot of the production still feels as if it is being workshopped and, as a result,the quality is inconsistent. The swearing may be realistic but it does seem to take up a lot of space that might be more interestingly allocated.
The stories are spoken as monologues, or as conversations or, most powerfully as fully realised dramatic scenes where McCrudden’s raw menace is utterly terrifying. Whilst there are some good support from the cast it is McCrudden who lights up the stage – he is mesmerising: powerful, unnerving yet strangely vulnerable.
The production asks the question about what society is doing for people like McCrudden and the rest of the cast – born into violence, marginalised, with little opportunity to deviate from the well worn lifepath of petty crime into serious crime and prison leaving the debris of shattered relationships and families littered behind them. Understandably it is not offering any solutions – all that Thomas wants us to do is to notice him and those like him, to acknowledge that he exists and perhaps by doing so we can start to make things better. It’s not a big ask and if anyone can inspire others to do it it’s McCrudden.
Summerhall 19.20 Daily