First, the good news: you don’t have to have read James Hogg’s classic 1824 novel to appreciate this experimental and expressive piece of meta-theatre. The bad news is you might find it more enjoyable if you did have a working knowledge of Scottish Theatre’s history over the last few decades.
As you enter the show you find photos, posters and letters from a forgotten 1980 production of Confessions. Once inside, your host George Anton gives a lecture on Glasgow theatrical history and the career of the late Paul Bright, the rising star behind the 80s production who faded into obscurity and died too young at the age of 47.
Anton’s account of the mammoth production and the Welles like genius of Bright is illustrated with interviews with theatrical figures who wax lyrical on this forgotten gem in the Scottish theatrical crown. The show becomes a narrative of both an obsessive artist and of his often dubious process as well as a way of saving a cultural artefact.
At a certain point it probably dawns on most of the audience that this is, like Hogg’s novel, an unreliable narrative and that perhaps no such production ever existed nor any such person as Paul Bright and that this show is a cleverly produced satire on the theatre and the type of monsters it can sometimes produce.
Director Stewart Laing and writer Pamela Carter deserve praise for making something so convincing as well as, for those who remember the period, something so true to artistic over-reaching of the time.