Colours of this drama still fine

'The Sash'
'The Sash'

The Sash, Adam Smith Theatre

IT must be 20 years since I last saw ‘The Sash’ on stage at the Adam Smith Theatre. That performance featured the late great Gerard Kelly.

‘The Sash’ may be set in the 1970s - even further back in time - but it’s message remains as relevant in 2013.

The ugliness of sectarianism, from both sides of the divide, is brought vividly to life by Hector MacMillan’s script.

The bigotry generated drives the story, but it’s ultimately about people blinded by dogma, unable to see another point of view even if if means driving wedges between family members.

Bill (superbly played by Stewart Munro) is the staunch Orangeman preparing for the July 12 walk.

The noise he makes brings his downstairs neighbour Bridget, the Irish matriach with a sharp tongue and equally abrasive stance, - brought to life with great gusto by the wonderful Jane McCarry - banging on his door.

When, after a few tipples, he tumbles from the tenement window into the street, the human cost of sectarianism is brought sharply into focus.

Bill’s son Cameron (Colin Little) has no time for the Orange Order - he points to the painting of King Billy and says ‘‘oh look, Lester Piggott!’’ - and the divide between him and his father, and him and his girlfriend Georgina (Michele Gallagher) grows by the hour.

And downstairs, sits a heavily pregnant niece, Una (Ashley Smith) whose first hand experience of the terrorist atrocities drives home the human cost.

It’s a powerful production laced with sharp humour - the 70s langauge certainly underlines how much times have changed - but the message of ‘The Sash’ remains as strong as ever.

Now touring.