Review: If You're Feeling Sinister at Gilded Balloon - Patter Hoose

Glaswegian writer Eve Nicol’s play inspired by the Belle and Sebastian album of the same name is charmingly eccentric.

If You’re Feeling Sinister tells the story of an odd couple: Boss, a stuffy Glasgow academic looking for a mid-life adrenaline injection, and Kid, an overzealous American arts graduate desperate for normality.

The unlikely pair come together over their theft of an iconic Glasgow painting – which becomes the play’s ever present third character and the object pulling them apart.

Performers Alan McHugh and Sarah Swire deliver solid performances and are at their best during the songs, where dreamy Glasgow melodies move the story along nicely.

For fans of the band’s second album McHugh and Swire deliver plenty of impressive renditions with tender vocals and melancholic guitar playing.

There are some beautiful moments where Stuart Murdoch’s lyrics have been reimagined, including a cute dance to Fox in the Snow and the reimagining of Dylan in the Movies as the soundtrack to a heart stopping cross-town chase.

The relationship between Kid and Boss is a fascinating one to watch, reminiscent of Brando and Schneider’s in the film Last Tango in Paris. But where Bertolucci was able to cast light on such an improbable and fractious relationship, If You’re Feeling Sinister left me asking who these people really were, and ultimately, why I should care about them.

Framing a play around the confines of an album can be difficult, but Nicol has achieved success before with One Life Stand, a play which used the music of Honeyblood as its muse, proving the concept works.

This is not your average musical theatre. Nicol has great ambition and creates an eccentric energy on stage which will leave audiences with Belle and Sebastian on the brain for days to come.

If You’re Feeling Sinister, Gilded Balloon – Patter Hoose, until 26 Aug, 3.45pm

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