By Mark Bolsover
Black Dingo present a charming, well-paced and well-staged adaptation of Des Dillon’s Singin’ I’m No a Billy He’s a Tim, examining the crudity and over-simplification at stake in sectarian animosity through the forced meeting of a ‘typical’ Rangers supporter and a ‘typical’ Celtic supporter.
The play is interestingly staged in the round here, the audience ranged around an elevated platform with the interesting and effective choice of a minimalistic frame to depict the cell which the two main characters occupy for the duration of the play.
Singin’ revolves around the gradual, complex and grudging admission of common social, political and emotional ground between the two leads, and both Gerry Kielty as Tim and Brian Hill as Billy are excellently cast. Black Dingo’s adaptation derives its energy and pacing from the great chemistry between them, with Derek Elsby providing solid and sympathetic support as their guard, Harry.
The humour of Singin’ plays on the reactionary crudity of the terms of the characters antagonism and is liberally littered with expletives from the outset. Both Kielty and Hill do well to play this material perfectly straight and bounce well off each other with good pace and delivery. They add a definite charm to the material, and all three actors get the pitch of the material spot on. The relationship between the three characters, but especially between Billy and Tim, delivers all the genuine feeling of Dillon’s script.
Singin’ I’m No a Billy He’s a Tim. Just Festival at St John’s 5-24 August, 20.30 (1hr20)