Scotsman Assembly, Edinburgh
August, 2001

**** Flashbacks to childhood friendships and crises

Douglas Maxwell has now proved himself an excellent writer about boyhood, but sometimes you wish he'd do a bit more.

A qualification to that four-star rating: this is, in itself, an excellent play and production. It's just that, in terms both of themes and narrative, it keeps firmly within the same territory of Maxwell's Decky Does A Bronco (also revived on this year's Fringe). In each case, we see a gang of nine-year-old-schoolboys and their grown-up selves, played by the same actors; in each case, the event which propels them into uncomfortable adulthood is the death (or at least disappearance) of a boy on the edge of the group. Giggles, like Decky, seems to be "special" in the educationally euphemistic sense of the word, but his maladjustment hides a strong intellect and an unparalleled skill at writing fabulous stories, which form the legacy that keeps the other three uncomfortably linked in their later lives.

Jim Twaddale's production for Borderline and Glasgow's Tron Theatre (where the play was first seen last year) is a fine piece of work. But those who see this play after Decky, or vice versa, may find their enjoyment tempered by a sense of going back over now-familiar ground.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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