It is staggering to believe that Moorcroft is Eilidh Loan’s first play. Seven years in the making, debuting in 2022 to universal acclaim, it is based heavily on Loan’s own father’s experiences as a young man in 1980s Scotland. Such was the reception to the work that it’s back for an extended run at The Tron Theatre and an extensive tour of Scotland into November.
Told in flashback, breaking the fourth wall and spoken in the West of Scotland vernacular, in the present day it’s Garry’s (Martin Docherty) 50th birthday and looking every day and more of those years, he recounts his and his friends’ stories and the story of the football team that binds the septet together.
It tackles themes of race, homosexuality, illness and male mental health. Brutally real, these are a depressingly familiar set of stories: feeling washed out and washed up at 19 years old, lacking and missed opportunities, intolerance of everything that’s different to you, the small-minded ignorance that perpetuated the age. It is an uncomfortable watch at times, serving as it does as a reminder of attitudes that while largely improved, have not entirely been overcome in 2023.
To Loan’s credit, there are moments of light relief to illuminate those of gloom and the work is heavily punctuated with comedy and some inventive movement sequences.
The ensemble cast are universally strong, and while sometimes a little caricatured in driving home the narrative, they successfully breathe life into these very real stories.
Utterly gripping and hauntingly familiar, Moorcroft is a stunning piece of work from Eilidh Loan, we can only wait with bated breath to see what’s next from this gifted playwright.