Still Game Live, The Final Farewell,
**** 4 Stars
“ The Final Farewell is a truly fitting celebration of all that is good about still game”
Twenty two years ago in 1997 two elderly pensioners, Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade made their debut at the Edinburgh Fringe festival to an audience of just 8 people, fast forward to 2019 those same two pensioners are taking there final bows in front of 10,000 plus people each performance as the final curtain of a Scottish comedy institution falls its creators Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill have gone back to the very roots of “Still Game” and delivered a master class in pathos driven comedy.
There will be no plot spoilers here but this final set of shows picks up from where the final BBC television episodes left off and an aged Boabby the Barman (Gavin Mitchell) asks “Look who it isnae!” and thus starts the final adventure for Jack (Kiernan), Victor (Hemphill), Isa (Jane McGarry), Winston (Paul Riley), Tam ( Mark Cox), Boabby (Mitchell) and Naveed (Sanjeev Kohli).
What set this production apart is its clearly the end of the road for the characters, and the show kicks off with the arrival of two of “Chewin The Fats” star characters. The still game story started to develop more fully in chewing the fat with small sketches that was grown into a full comedy series that has changed the cultural landscape for good. There are nods to chewin the fat through out the show, as the creators look back at all that they have achieved over the years.
The stellar cast are joined by a 16 strong ensemble as well as surprise guest appearances from a raft of actors who have delivered equally special Still Game Characters. Director Michael Hines has beautifully transposed everything that’s good about Still Game from the tv to the vast expenses of the hydro always ensuring no matter where you sit you will always be part of the action.
There are several musical numbers in the show, all comedy driven and musical director, Tom Urie (who himself is known for playing Martyn in the tv show) delivers well and all the songs add momentum to an already well paced show.
The Final Farewell is a truly fitting celebration of all that is good about still game, comedy that’s drawn from situations we all see in our lives, whilst never taking shots at any individuals or groups its mature, understated and deeply gifted writing that has brought a group of pensioners (played by a much younger cast) to national attention. The affection that’s held for still game will be forever cherished even if there are no more episodes or further stage shows.
A fully committed cast, a sparkling script, expert direction, and above all else the love that everyone connected with the show has ensures this is truly an unmissable final farewell to the pantheon of the Still Game Universe.
The Universal truth is, age comes to us all, and as long as we embrace that and never give up then perhaps, we too can truly be Still Game.
Still Game Live! The Final Farewell, The SSE Hydro, Runs until Sunday 13th October. For tickets go to: https://www.thessehydro.com/events/detail/still-game-live-1