Old Boy review at Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh – ‘fascinating view of real life’
Male relationships – specifically inter-generational familial relationships – come under intense, if friendly examination in Glas(s) Productions’ Old Boy.
The company has engaged with three grandfather-grandson pairs from the Easterhouse estate in Glasgow, in which the grandsons are aged ten years apart – two, 12 and 22. Having devised and honed what they are to do, each pair interacts (separately) in front of the audience – asking each other questions, doing things which have strong resonances to their relationships and talking about that relationship to the audience.
Of course two-year-old Sam doesn’t do much questioning or talking – he just plays on the round grass-like carpet with his grandad Peter, who does have a lot to say about what having a grandson means to him. There’s a lot more for 12-year-old Kai to say about his grandad Les, with the confident boldness of his age, while Les has his own recollections of his grandfather. Eoin’s grandad can’t be there, but has sent a letter to read out, while Eoin gives a young grown-up’s view of their relationship.
It is fascinating view of real life, the success of which doesn’t depend so much on the actual stories being told, as the openness with which directors Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore help their performers tell them. As a touring show, it is a powerful concept that will transform to fit each community it visits.