The Prince The Johnny Thomson Story

You don’t have to be a theatrical buff to enjoy “The Prince, The Johnny Thomson Story” at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow. It was my fortune to be there on the actual night of September 5, exactly 80 years since the death of John Thomson, and this gave an added poignancy to the performance of the play.
 Not that it needed any added poignancy, for there were few people in the audience who did not have a lump in their throat at the end, so well done was the show. The five actors, four males and one female, played their parts as if they were died in the wool Celtic supporters. Any good actor or producer will tell you that drama must come from the heart – the cast played their part from the heart.
 The really enjoyable thing was the way that humour, pathos, reminders about the poverty of the times, music, audience participation and other things were all intertwined in a way which will be singularly memorable. The mood was always light-hearted, even in the singing of “Lead, Kindly Light” and the circumstances of the death itself with the climax of the play surely being the ghostly John Thomson saying to the ghostly Sam English in answer to the question “Where are we?”, “Haven’t you guessed? It’s Paradise!”.
 The love interest with John and Margaret “Micky” Finlay was sensitively portrayed, and the playing of Maley and McGrory were also well done, with Maley in particularly thoroughly believable with a laugh raised at the “empty biscuit tin” sketch.
 The pedantic historian may point to a few anachronisms like Steve Callaghan telling Maley about the O’Donnells coming from Fife in the context of signing John Thomson (the O’Donnells were of course a few years later) and the picture of the facade of the Celtic Park stand in the background as John Thomson joined the club in 1926 (the stand was opened in 1929), but we were of course asked more than once to travel in time and to “suspend disbelief”. It was indeed a vivid indication of the continuum that is supporting Celtic, and the players are to be commended for doing this so well.
 Every actor would get 10 out of 10 if they were playing a football game, and plaudits also to the writers and the musicians. It is a superb show and runs for the rest of the week.
All Celtic fans should make an effort to go there.

2 Comments

  1. Eileen MacKenzie
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi saw the show in Glasgow was amazing, do you know if there is any chance
    they will do another run of the show?

    • Brian McGeachan
      Posted November 23, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Hi Eileen, There has been interest expressed in staging the show at The Alhambra Theatre in Fife. Thank you for your kind comments about the play. They are greatly appreciated. If you have the time and inclination, Eileen, you might want to email the theatre and suggest they put the show back on the road! Thanks again.

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