Long live the King….


The king of football comedy, Jonathan Watson, takes to the stage once more, this time in the outrageous award-winning comedy play, King of Scotland, writes Susan Welsh, Press and Journal.

When it comes to comedy, it’s all about timing – and the timing could not be better than right now for presenting a revival of the outrageous one-man show, King of Scotland. Written by Iain Heggie and starring Jonathan Watson, the much-loved actor from legendary Scottish shows including Only An Excuse, Naked Video and City Lights.. The play, which sees Jonathan present a funny and daring monologue, was first performed just after the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament, before going on to be named an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First winner. With the 2011 Scottish Elections in mind, Iain Heggie rewrote and revised part of the script to suit the changing political landscape.

The cutting-edge production, which on this occasion is also directed by Iain, features trouser-less bankers, talking dogs, flying taxis and a razor-sharp parody of the workings of Scottish politics. At its heart is Tommy McMillan, played by Jonathan, an established actor who trained at the RSAMD and has worked with numerous theatrical companies.

“The play is very loosely based on the short story, Diary of a Madman, written by Nikolai Gogol about a little office clerk and his descent into madness,” explained Jonathan.

“In this take on it, it focuses on a guy called Tommy McMillan who is one of the long-term unemployed – 28 consecutive years without working, and proud of it. “He’s roped into a government training scheme to get him back into work and through the implications of it, at work and in his home life, you see his descent into madness. “Along the way you meet many characters, mainly seen through the eyes of Tommy, but other characters do pop up too, portrayed through Tommy’s interpretation of them.”

After joining the government scheme, Tommy is portrayed as a shining example of how it works and he’s selected to be featured in the media. Taken on by The Department of Social Inclusion, the department gets more than they bargained for when they discover just how far up the ladder Tommy is expecting to go. Although Jonathan has excellent mimic skills which he puts to good use in shows like BBC Scotland’s Only An Excuse, which takes a satirical look at football and attracts more than a million viewers when broadcast at Hogmanay, he doesn’t use them in this play.

“Tommy doesn’t do impressions or speak in different voices, far from it,” said Jonathan. “I first trained as an actor and a lot of my work is as an actor, so I’ll be approaching this part from that angle.” But he will use another of his talents, excellent comic timing, to great effect. For many people, this skill of his first came to light in the cult television shows, Naked Video and City Lights.

“After this short tour, I’m taking the King of Scotland to the Edinburgh Festival where, in 1983, we did a show called Naked Radio,” said Jonathan. “It was through that show that Naked Video came about – it’s hard to believe that was 28 years ago.”

Nowadays, his time is split between the worlds of radio, theatre and television and film. “Although people may think of me from the Hogmanay show, that only takes up a few weeks of my time,” said Jonathan. “Earlier this year I did some political satire for Radio Scotland and I’ve just finished filming an episode of the BBC TV show New Tricks, which was great fun.” Being in constant demand means he’s never been out of work, so how hard is it, I wondered, to play someone who has dodged work all his life? “I’ve had to use my imagination, but it’s such a well-observed and well-written piece, which is a huge help,” said Jonathan.

King of Scotland will be at macrobert Wednesday 25 May 8.00pm

More info and online booking here.

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About macrobert
macrobert arts centre offers an exciting programme of events that welcomes everyone. Choose from a fantastic programme of live events including theatre, dance and music. There is also a full cinema programme with films showing to suit all ages and tastes. There are lots of fun activities for children and young people: creative factories, supervised arts and craft sessions in treehouse, tailor made birthday parties, and youth theatre and dance groups. TICKETS AND INFORMATION LINE 01786 466666 You can also follow macrobert on Facebook , Twitter and Bebo. For special offers and to get all the macrobert news first, sign up for our weekly e-bulletin via www.macrobert.org.

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