Tron Theatre, Glasgow
14 July 2023
Following a sell-out premier run at the Tron Theatre in 2022, Eilidh Loan's Moorcroft is back for extra time.
Taking inspiration from stories told by her dad, Eilidh’s play brings together a group of young, working class, West of Scotland lads as they navigate life and all the challenges it throws at them.
"Garry’s turned 50 but doesn’t feel like celebrating. Exhausted from years spent wrapped in regret, he begins to relive ‘the glory days’ of his youth: the life-lessons learned and friendship bonds forged on the football pitch with his Moorcroft team-mates, in a bid to make peace with his past and find renewed purpose."
When we meet Garry (Martin Docherty), he has just turned 50 and is thinking back on his life and in particular reminiscing about his friends in the Moorcroft football team.
Straight away I was drawn in by the familiar scene: Don't we all do this? At birthdays? At New Year? What are supposedly times of joy can often instead lead to moments of reflection, and indeed sadness.
Through Garry we travel back to the 1980s where we witness the formation of his six-a-side football team Moorcroft, the fundraising for their first kit, to their cup matches, dressing room antics, boys nights out and more. All the stories are told with warmth and affection, and it's clear Garry loved and still loves these boys.
Moorcroft is anchored by Garry and in turn by Martin Docherty. He's our storyteller and our witness. It's a very effective construction and is powerfully delivered from beginning to end by Docherty who is a formidable actor.
Moorcroft is character-led and relies heavily on the quality of the script, the likability of the characters and an authentic performance from all the actors on stage. Thankfully they score a hat-trick with that and it all comes together in a captivating play that has the audience laughing one minute and holding back tears the next.
Central to it all - the Moorcroft boys themselves. Each character has their own unique personality, background and challenges. But they are a team - a team that really cares for one another. But in 1980s west of Scotland, none of them would dare say as much out loud. Are things better between groups of lads today? I don't know. I fear not.
This is why Moorcroft is so important. If you have a brother, a boyfriend, a husband, a father in your life who wouldn't normally go near a theatre, please urge them to go see Moorcroft. It's fun, it's accessible, it's relatable and it'll make them hug or at least text their pals when they get home.
One aspect that had me beaming throughout the production was the clever and energetic use of music and group choreography. There's something really beautiful about footballers creating patterns on the pitch. And what made it even better was that all the set-pieces were performed with such nonchalance by the cast. They're just warming up, or having a laugh during a night out; they're not really performing choreographed steps! They pull it off magically with indifferent facial expressions and composure betraying the fact that it must've taken lots of patience and practice to perfect.
There is no choreographer listed, so I can only imagine the director and the cast deserve the credit for the cool moves. They did not go unnoticed!
Moorcroft is full of humour and heartbreak, but the word I keep coming back to is love. The play is obviously written with love and performed with love; reading the director's note afterwards was enough to make me tear up. Eilidh talks about how writing the show brought her closer to her dad, and how proud she has made him. I bet!
Moorcroft is full of characters and voices I recognise from my own west-coast, working class upbringing - and I didn't go anywhere near a football pitch!
Moorcroft is not just for 'the lads' or for the football fans, there's something for everyone to relate to, to laugh at, to think about - and hopefully, to learn from.
Go see it!
Moorcroft plays at Glasgow Tron Theatre from Thursday 13th to Saturday 29th July 2023 and then tours Scotland in late autumn 2023 in association with National Theatre of Scotland. Links to venues and tickets below.
⚽ Garry – Martin Docherty
⚽ Mick – Jatinder Singh Randhawa
⚽ Mince – Bailey Newsome
⚽ Noodles – Santino Smith
⚽ Paul – Sean Connor
⚽ Sooty – Kyle Gardiner
⚽ Tubs – Dylan Wood
Moorcroft CREATIVE TEAM
Written and directed by Eilidh Loan
Set and Costume Design by Carys Hobbs
Lighting Design by Michaella Fee
Sound Design by Gary Cameron
Assistant Director Steph Austin
Associate Director Santino Smith
Dramaturgical support by Johnny McKnight
📸 Production photos: Mihaela Bodlovic
Moorcroft listings and tickets
Moorcroft at Glasgow Tron 2023
Moorcroft plays at Glasgow Tron Theatre from Thursday 13th - Saturday 29th July 2023.
🎟️ Tickets here: https://www.tron.co.uk/shows/moorcroft-2/
Moorcroft Scottish Tour 2023
Moorcroft will tour Scotland in late autumn 2023 in association with National Theatre of Scotland.
🎟️ Dates, venues and ticket details here: https://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/events/moorcroft#dates-and-times
🌟 A review of Moorcroft by Eilidh Loan at The Tron Theatre, Glasgow, July 2023 🌟
🎟️ Disclosure: I was invited to Moorcroft by Glasgow Tron Theatre and received complimentary tickets in exchange for Instagram posts and an honest review. Whether I am invited or not has absolutely no impact on my reviews or star ratings.
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