Published in the Guardian Arches Theatre Three stars
IF YOU'RE on the streets of Glasgow this month, you'll feel naked without a lanyard around your neck and an outsized ID card sporting the logo of the Commonwealth Games 2014. Things are similarly brash in the subterranean Arches, where Random Accomplice are attempting an audacious marathon of their own.
Not content with rehearsing one show and then sticking to it, the Glasgow company are generating a new script by the night, working in games-related gags right until the last minute and throwing the whole thing on stage with the hell-for-leather energy of a 100m sprint.
The setting is a tacky TV studio, decked out in a bad-taste tartan that matches the puce haircut of Clyde, this year's creepy official mascot. Here, a narcissistic bunch of presenters and producers play status games during the advert breaks of Tartan Tonight, before turning on the small-screen smarm for a series of sports news updates.
There's a new lead writer every day, a team of daily contributors, and an exuberant cast made up of Julie Brown, as a hair-fixated egotist; Jordan Young, as a perma-tanned lothario; Johnny McKnight, as a gay weatherman in pink shorts and gold lamé sneakers; Rosalind Sydney, as a 1986 Commonwealth ping-pong contender; Gavin Jon Wright, as a put-upon floor manager; and Julie Wilson Nimmo, as a tyrannous producer – not forgetting Sally Reid lurking at the back to do the live voiceover.
The joke in McKnight's opening episode is that the games are still under wraps, leading to much speculation about the Queen's relay-baton message, the lineup of the opening ceremony and the uniforms of the "lazy" volunteers. There's a little too much reliance on scatological insults, but the closer the outside broadcasts and autocue one-liners get to current events, the sharper and funnier it gets, promising much merriment in the performances to come. Not yet gold, but a worthy bronze.