Published in the Guardian
In the year 2038, a researcher may hungrily pounce on this review. It may, by then, be the last fragment of evidence about a show that took place in Glasgow in June 2013.
The researcher will not know whether to trust me. I may, for example, be like Keith Bruce of the Glasgow Herald who wrote a review, seemingly published in the late 1980s, of an all-night performance in which a "few hardy souls . . . were rewarded with an experience none of us will forget". Except everyone did forget. Today, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who remembers Paul Bright and his adaptation of James Hogg's ground-breaking 1824 novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
Some people, in this NTS/Untitled Projects collaboration, do claim to remember. Actor George Anton, who tells the story of his involvement in Bright's wayward performances, shows us interviews with luminaries such as Tim Crouch, Alison Peebles and Giles Havergal who reflect on his legacy. Katie Mitchell talks about Bright ranting about one of her shows at the Gate and Annie Griffin recalls him reworking an entire 1989 production seven days before opening night.
These narrators, however, are as unreliable as Robert Wringhim, the fanatical sinner of Hogg's novel. Just as we are never certain whether Robert's nemesis Gil-Martin is the devil made flesh or a projection of a troubled mind, so we can never fully trust the archive evidence about Bright.
Anton, meanwhile, is like the editor in Hogg's novel, sifting through the scraps of evidence, much of which is on display in the accompanying exhibition. Suddenly you realise Stewart Laing's head-spinning production is not a City of Culture documentary at all, but a dazzlingly faithful adaptation of the novel. But you only have my word for that.
Until 29 June (0845 330 3501). Details: www.nationaltheatrescotland.com