Tutti Frutti Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
National Theatre of Scotland
John Byrne (writer), Tony Cowie (director)
Tam Dean Burn, Therese Bradley, Kenneth Bryans, Barrie Hunter, Helen Mallon, John McGlynn, Alan McHugh, Gavin Mitchell, Julie Wilson Nimmo, John Ramage, Dawn Steele, Tom Urie, Claire Waugh

The only things a fully-grown man has to fear in this world are a fully grown woman and an unopened bank statement. Advice to a friend in 'relationship difficulties' might be more appropriately offered to the characters who make up 'The Majestics', John Byrne's tribute band to all those struggling part-time, never quite-got-there and never quite grew up either musicians still awaiting their big break arriving before their bus pass does. More about fully grown women in due course.

'Rock 'n roll will never die' is a principal thread in the tapestry that is 'Tutti Frutti', and the wisely witty selection of rock classics which counterpoint the action one of its major strengths and charms. On the night this reviewer was in, a goodly number of the audience appeared old enough to recall the T.V. serial on which it is based, but some were surely encountering the tale of Danny McGlone, Suzy Kettles and their associates for the first time.

There's joyousness about the piece which ought to leave even the most stolid of audiences bouncing, and the enjoyment of this cast in their work is particularly infectious. 'Thank heaven for little girls' sang Maurice Chevalier in an earlier age. Thank heaven then for the grown up girls who enjoy a night out with a bit of music and a bit of fun, and lessen the sense of isolation reviewing can induce.

There's a great deal of fun had, with storming performances from Tam Dean Burn as Vincent Driver, walking a tightrope between childish tantrum and outright psychosis, assured acting (and singing) from Dawn Steele as Suzy Kettles and Tom Ure as Danny McGlone, while the shrewd actor's intelligence John Ramage brings to his performance as Eddie Clockerty leaves one wondering whether Clockerty's descent into deepest doo-doo would have been as rapid and profound had he been managed by Ramage. Julie Wilson Nimmo is a very able foil to Ramage's Clockerty and her ever-changing parade of fetching frocks an added bonus to her every re-appearance.

It's the men what get the glory and the women who get the blame in the macho world of rock 'n roll, and if anything, this is brought into even sharper relief in this two and a half hour stage version of what was almost six hours of television. The two women in Vince Driver's life, his wife Noreen (Therese Bradley) and teenage girlfriend , Glenna (Helen Mallon) ably depict the strength and vulnerability of women in love with emotionally illiterate men, and the price they pay for this.

Tutti Frutti is part of the National theatre of Scotland's current season. Admittedly at the lighter end of this season's offerings, it still manages to punch above its apparent weight, and deliver a knock-out evening's entertainment.

©Bill Dunlop 26th April 2007 - Published on EdinburghGuide.com