Like Irvine Welsh, Ruaraidh Murray is brilliant at capturing the unapologetic working-class lads and lassies of Scotland; people alive with fire and energy, who know where they come from and aren’t afraid of shouting it in yer face.
Once again, Welsh has given Stockbridge-born Murray his stamp of approval and, as with last year’s show Big Sean, Mikey and Me (which is now being adapted for film and radio), it feels like half of Edinburgh has crammed themselves into a small room to relish the voice of one of their own.
Murray is a celebrity to his growing army of fans and when he punches his way out of a heavily taped-up cardboard box, he is greeted by a hearty cheer and things haven’t even started yet.
As before, the brilliantly versatile writer and performer plays all of the characters, this time in a script that pairs the crudeness and wit of a gregarious bunch of childhood friends with the vibrancy of a life fully lived never far from the prison gates.
Through three monologues, superbly sliced together, we are bombarded by raw, visceral and very funny descriptions of people who are proud of getting pished, wearing Adidas and making you feel uncomfortable.
Spike is the ringleader, a Begbie-type who worships lesser-known ancient military commander Hannibal (not, as he’s keen to point out, the same as Hannibal Lecter). JoJo is an oddball hanger-on with a shrill voice and a festering grudge. Caught in the middle is Billy who, like Welsh’s Trainspotting anti-hero Renton, is permanently trying to rein in the behaviour of his volatile mates.
This is the kind of place where everyone had their heyday in the late 1980s/early 90s, where “banging” house music, “tidy birds” and living with your ma are the status quo. Through what turns into an almost Shakespearian comic tragedy, we get to know men who cannot escape their pasts or their friends. “I love a good staple gun,” says JoJo, before things turn a bit Reservoir Dogs.
Written for The Scotsman