If the UK ever decides to appoint an Anglo-Scottish mediator (and I think that it should), then look no further than Kieran Hodgson.
Big In Scotland, the writer and actor’s latest one-man show, is an affectionate and smartly-told tale of relocation and reinvention north of the border following Hodgson’s transformation into an honorary Scot after being cast in BBC Scotland’s hit comedy series Two Doors Down.
Hot on the heels of sold-out runs in Edinburgh and London, this clever, funny, observational comedy is a non-stop hour of rapid fire delivery from Hodgson, jumping from one character to the next with impressive precision. Whether it’s singing an energetic music hall song in the style of Sir Harry Lauder or reliving his first encounter with work colleague Yvonne from Dumbarton, Hodgson never lets up for a second (despite his decision to wear a heavy, sweat inducing tartan jacket) and the momentum never wavers.
He cleverly manages to avoid the more predictable Scottish stereotypes. But when the nation’s food, weather and even the quest for independence are inevitably referenced, it is always from the viewpoint of the bewildered, behind-the-beat Englishman trying to fit in rather than a veiled attack on what it means to be Scottish. You don’t have to be from either side of the border to understand the what’s going on here, as laughter from The Lowry audience in Salford proved.
Early on, Hodgson references being advised by a casting director not to have a crack at a Scottish accent. As an actual Scot who has suffered through many an actor painfully delivering dire Mrs Doubtfire-type efforts, I commend Hodgson on flawlessly nailing a range of Scottish accents from all corners of the country. There are also some spot on impressions and transformations ranging from Gordon Brown to an alpaca (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type).
The show is a treat from start to finish, delivered by an extremely likeable performer whose star is most definitely on the rise.
All images courtesy of Kieran Hodgson
Tour details: berksnest.com/kieran
For more information about what’s on at The Lowry, click here.
To read Northern Soul’s interview with Kieran Hodgson, click here.