From the off, Eve Nicol’s play, based on Belle and Sebastian’s beloved 1996 album, is fiercely sure of what it is. It takes the audience a bit of time to catch up: using Stuart Murdoch’s music and lyrics as a jumping off point, Nicol has created a heist drama set in Glasgow, where student Kid and her older teacher Boss figure out what to do next.
Sarah Swire’s precise, intense performance as ever-so-slightly unhinged Kid makes a great contrast with Alan McHugh’s laidback, slightly dull Boss.
There’s something loveable about the unreality of it all: the fact that Kid has stolen the most famous painting in Scotland without a hitch; the mismatch of the relationship; the questions about whether Kid means what she says about planting bombs, suicide, sadness and loneliness.
The central relationship feels a bit weird, especially Boss’s power compared with Kid, and his manipulation of her. Plus, it would be great to hear longer stretches of Belle and Sebastian’s music.
Murdoch’s lyrics are so weirdly specific, such instant creations of their own little worlds, that the play struggles to accommodate them with much ease.
But Nicol emulates that approach in her play: it creates its world in full force, slightly impenetrably, but with great charm