Theatre review: Moving Pictures

THERE'S always been a fine strand of nostalgia in the Play, Pie And Pint lunchtime programme; the season's late founder David MacLennan was born in 1948, and Scottish writers from the 1945-1965 generation have had plenty to mourn, as they've watched the post-war world that nurtured them dismantled and destroyed.
Matt Costello and Billy McBain in Moving PicturesMatt Costello and Billy McBain in Moving Pictures
Matt Costello and Billy McBain in Moving Pictures

Oran Mor, Glasgow **

The final show of this autumn season, though, takes the art of nostalgia straight over the edge into outright sentimentality, with strings of cliches thrown in about the passing of time, and the power of memory. In the projection room of an old Art Deco cinema about to be converted into executive flats, two middle-aged workmen Mikey and Davy – decently played by Matt Costello and Billy McBain – are clearing out old equipment and debris. They begin to reminisce, and are interrupted by the appearance of a woman called Jenny, a former box office manager rudely known to the kids as “Jenny For A Penny”; but her slightly mysterious arrival makes no real difference to the tide of gentle, nostalgic movie banter.

Towards the end, there’s a glimmer of plot, as it emerges that Mikey has been returning late at night to help himself to some of the cinema’s old treasures; he and Davy talk about loyalty, and the meaning of friendship, in a way that could have been interesting if it had emerged earlier in the play. As it is, though, Moving Pictures remains little more than a predictable meander down memory lane; not unpleasant on a wintry lunchtime, but barely dynamic enough to hold the attention, for a short 50 minutes.


(Final performance at Oran Mor today; and at the The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, 29 November until 3 December)