As the audience enters the performance space downstairs at Assembly Roxy we are handed a large laminated card. One side is bright blue and features the word ‘AYE!’. The other side is bright red and has the word ‘NAW!’ on it. Kevin P Gilday enters the stage and lets us know that we are part of a focus group for an organisation called Citizen Scotland. We are told we are in post-Brexit Scotland and new powers have been granted to the Scottish people. The purpose of Citizen Scotland is to decide what traits should be included in a Scottish citizen test in order to determine who benefits from these new powers. Suffering From Scottishness makes use of poetry, music, video and PowerPoint slides to examine Scottish people and Scottish culture.
Suffering From Scottishness is a fully interactive show. The audience feel completely part of the performance and that we have a voice and decision on what is happening on the stage. There are six Scottish traits that are debated. These include inventions, language and alcohol. We are given the chance to say ‘AYE!’ in order to include these traits or ‘NAW!’ to deny them. Suffering From Scottishness is at its best when Gilday delivers his poetry. The words are energetic and are delivered with passion and vibrancy. Although the songs within the show are entertaining and definitely add to the comedic aspect, it is the poetry that makes the show feel poignant and relevant.
The conclusion of Suffering From Scottishness highlights the need for people to question their own cultural identity and to strive for the future that they need within a global culture. Gilday does not shy way from criticising and highlighting the flaws in Scottish identity. Health, physical and mental health and self obsession are examined to present an uplifting and poignant conclusion that will ring true regardless of what nation you call home.