I,Tommy- Gilded Balloon 3.15pm


 This interpretation by writer Ian Pattison of the far left’s new great hope in Scotland, Tommy Sheridan- performed by Red Aye productions- is an attempt to tell the rise and rise of the charismatic politician before the sex scandals, fame and perjury gave him the recognition he didn’t need and brought him to the public’s attention in ways he never could have contemplated. Told through the eyes via the memoirs of associate and former acolyte Alan Mc Combs I, Tommy is the downfall of a politician who had everything and fell for the trappings of fame which swiftly led to infamy. The central performance of Sheridan as portrayed by Des Mc Lean is extremely credible and the driving force of the whole drama but unfortunately the other performances are capable enough but not in the same league.

The tale begins around the time Sheridan started to come to the notice of his fellow socialist party members. We are left in no doubt that he is very much loved by the ladies and that this feeling is more than reciprocated. Straight from the beginning the die is cast and we are aware that sexual proclivities with the fairer sex are going to play a leading part in his downfall.

Meanwhile, however, his political career is going from strength to strength and for the first time in decades through his involvement and becoming the new poster boy the Socialist party is gaining not just credibility but more importantly the support and votes of the public. Firmly installed as an MSP it seemed as if Sheridan was unstoppable but at this juncture rumours about his attendance at and participation in sexual swinging scenes started to crawl out of the woodwork and into the press, in particular the now defunct News of the World.

What followed was a defamation of character case which Sheridan won but this was succeeded by a counter claim from the newspaper which saw Sheridan charged with perjury. After he and his wife were found guilty he was sentenced to three years imprisonment but was out within a year. The story of Sheridan then is a typical one of idealistic values being turned by the fame game. He was not the first-nor will he be the last- and his downfall was so spectacular as he had scaled such great heights in such a short time and gained substantial number of believers along the way.

 I, Tommy does the script justice but somehow misses the mark. It is a more than adequate production and the tale is an interesting, if familiar one, but, on occasion it lapses into parody and seems too full of bluster to be taken seriously and not sharp enough to be truly funny either. Thus it splits itself down the middle between comedy and drama and compromise is not something normally associated with the dogmatic and determined Tommy Sheridan


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