Writer: Martin Travers and Martin Docherty
Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald
Lawrence McLuckie isn’t exactly living up to his name; the down on his luck actor frantically fills the silence as he awaits the call from his agent to determine if he’s up for the dream role, the lead in a big budget Netflix movie. Whilst waiting on the call, he also happens to be in the waiting room of the hospital, about to undergo the first dose of chemotherapy in his cancer treatment.
The hour-long monologue, penned by Martin Travers and Martin Docherty, has touching moments and laughter but never quite builds in either of these regards. The script is fast-paced but, at points, becomes scattered. It does not feel self-assured enough to plant its flag and say it is either a drama or a comedy; rather, it fluctuates between the two unharmoniously.
There is a grit to the piece that is not dealt with; the cancer diagnosis, the failure to succeed in your chosen vocation, the horrific scenes witnessed as a child in some of Glasgow’s most deprived areas; all these are rich and screaming for exploration. Instead, the audience is led on a mega-mix of all these issues without really being given the chance to reflect on anything. If the authors’ motive is to dump all these problems with a view to the audience feeling the pressures of McLuckie, it fails to work. Rather, the monologue is a rather odd ramble with, admittedly, some tender moments.
Protagonist McLuckie is portrayed by Glaswegian Martin Docherty, who does a fine job in presenting the character. He is a little slow to pick up the pace and some clever writing is lost in his delivery, but in moments where McLuckie reflects on his family life, particularly when talking about his grandfather, Docherty offers a poignant performance.
Levels are played with, notably when McLuckie recalls his jockey days, which does give the audience a little more than just a static monologue. More could be done with its stripped set but it does work in the intimate Citizens setting.
The show will not set the world alight, yet the programme note details that a proportion of the ticket fee goes to Macmillan Cancer Support; a noble cause which should certainly be commended.
Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre has a rich history of bringing local stories to it stage. Few can be as fitting as McLuckie’s Line which couldn’t be more West Coast of Scotland if it tried. It is a brash, witty and, at times, moving insight into the story of one man’s battle to break from the days of his childhood, without ever really succeeding.
Runs until 28 April 2018, then touring | Image: Contributed