Before the play starts, you can glean some idea of where this hour is headed from the onstage desk: bottles of wine and vodka, a line of cocaine, a singed teddy bear and a dildo artwork-cum-paperweight all adorn its surface. This peculiar potpourri promises one of two things: the very best or very worst night of someone’s life.
This is playwriting with a maestro’s touch.
For George and Nick, a pair of 24-carat dickheads (to steal one of many glorious insults from the show), it’s definitely the latter. George, owner of the notorious 90s hotspot, The Tardis, owes a little money, you see - a few tens of thousands in rent here, another hundred grand due to a mobster loan shark there. Not the easiest pair of IOUs to hand out. As things get a little out of hand, what follows is a smart, dark chamber piece centred on the incongruous pair as they attempt to avoid torture (or worse) and learn more about each other than they probably ever wanted to know.
George, played by The Club’s author Ruaraidh Murray, is a bit of a mess but means business, his rough-night stubble complementing his crumpled suit. Mark Farrelly’s mega-geezer Nick, conversely, is the hedonistic yin to George’s neurotic yang. He’s a Hawaiian shirt-clad sculptor, gathering arsehole-casts for his next masterpiece “The 50 Arseholes of America” and when it comes to abusable substances, he’s omnivorous and insatiable. Murray and Farrelly are truly excellent. Each performance is individually electric and a showcase for finely honed comic instincts, elevated further by the believable chemistry they share.
The script itself is a dark delight - crude, outrageous even a little bit beautiful. The dialogue is full of spark and a ribald, riotous joy to behold. Murray isn’t afraid to let the room simmer; he likes to let the tension build and build leaving the audience a little unsettled and a little closer to the edge of their seats. Then, in a moment, the room is pricked into roars of laughter. This is playwriting with a maestro’s touch.