Play 'Letters to Morrissey' by Gary McNair at Traverse, Edinburgh

Gary McNair’s play about a lonely misfit’s one-sided correspondence with the Smiths frontman makes for a touching hour.

It runs until 27th of August.

"This isn’t fan mail, it’s correspondence,” declares the earnest teenager to a bouncer after a Morrissey concert at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom. All fans think their relationship with their idol is unique, but for the teenager at the heart of Gary McNair’s first-person monologue, fandom is a matter of life and death. When his school counsellor tells him to find someone he can talk to, the boy chooses the singer once voted the second most famous cultural icon after David Attenborough. His appeal? “He dared us not to fit in.” So begins an entirely one-sided correspondence."

3/5* review in The Guardian:

Letters to Morrissey review – this charming fan's teenage tribute - The Guardian
by Lyn Gardner



Regards,
FWD.




Also:

Letters to Morrissey, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Festival, review - The Independent
This solo piece about hero worship and The Smiths' frontman by Gary McNair follows on from his Fringe hits 'Gary Robertson is Not a Standup Comedian' and 'A Gambler's Guide to Dying'
by David Pollock (3 of 5 stars)
 
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Comments

Quando quando quando

Well-Known Member
Oddly enough, there are no Turkeys in the country of Turkey. Another odd fact. All the citizens in the country of Hungary are very well feed. It can't be explained.
:D
The wild Turkey is not only wild but very witty too!
And has an outstanding understanding of semantics!
Yes, indeed :)
 

I_Am_A_Disco_Dancer

Active Member
Review from the Times -

Edinburgh theatre review: Letters to Morrissey at the Traverse
by Ann Treneman (3 out of 5 stars)

You don’t have to like Morrissey to enjoy this story of a teenager he inspired.

This is a show set in a teenager’s bedroom that has been made into a shrine to Morrissey. He is, says Gary McNair, the perfect idol for the outsider kid. “You’re not always alone, but you are always lonely,” he says, looking back at his working-class childhood some 15 years later. It’s been a while since he left his nondescript west of Scotland hometown: these days he only returns for marriages, births and funerals. He doesn’t tell us which this one is for a while.

The Smiths’ records are stacked up next to his bed. He liked life when he had his headphones on, it was the rest of it that was a worry. Introverted. Shy. Painfully quiet. Tony is one of his few friends and then he goes and tells him something terrible, swearing him to secrecy. Rumours – and fists – fly but Gary has no one to talk to about it. Who could help him decide? I think we know. Yes, it was that charming man Morrissey. Gary wrote, and wrote, and wrote. “It’s not fan mail,” he insists, delivering a letter to the bouncer at the concert he finally manages to go to in Glasgow. “It’s correspondence.” He signed every letter as: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side.

There is a lot that goes right in this 60-minute tribute to fandom and friendship. It’s both touching and funny with director Gareth Nicholls doing a great job with the timing but the story about the friendship feels unfinished. It’s fascinating watching McNair, whose last show was the sell-out A Gambler’s Guide to Dying, transform himself into a screaming mass of adulation. You don’t have to like Morrissey, by the way, to go.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...etters-to-morrissey-at-the-traverse-gmggzmnc3

*****************

The play has won a Scotsman first Fringe award "recognising outstanding new writing premiered at the festival."

http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/c...first-awards-2017-winners-announced-1-4528889
 

I_Am_A_Disco_Dancer

Active Member
Interview: Gary McNair stands up for Morrissey - The Herald
by Neil Cooper

“I think the thing that really grabbed me about Morrissey was that he was funny without being reductive. There was a seriousness to his humour that I loved. When I was at school I was really into all the comedy icons, and then I got into The Divine Comedy and REM, and I prefer Morrissey to the Smiths. Don't get me wrong, there's a poetry to what he did with the Smiths, but something happened on the first Morrissey album, Viva Hate, where he became a story-teller. Then he did albums like Kill Uncle, which were critically panned, but they seemed to speak to me. Obviously, I came to it late as a kid, and I didn't always know what the songs meant. I just thought they were fun and cheeky.”
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
The Evening Standard.
4/5*s.

Letters to Morrissey, Edinburgh Festival review: A funny and touching piece.

"It’s 1997, you’re 11, living in small-town Scotland and you feel “other”; a lad who desperately wants to fit in, but who is careful not to do anything that brings attention to yourself in this hopeless place. Then one day you see Morrissey on television singing: “I am human and I need to be loved."

https://www.standard.co.uk/goingout...view-a-funny-and-touching-piece-a3614561.html
 

countthree

Obvious person
Interview: Gary McNair stands up for Morrissey - The Herald
by Neil Cooper

“I think the thing that really grabbed me about Morrissey was that he was funny without being reductive. There was a seriousness to his humour that I loved. When I was at school I was really into all the comedy icons, and then I got into The Divine Comedy and REM, and I prefer Morrissey to the Smiths. Don't get me wrong, there's a poetry to what he did with the Smiths, but something happened on the first Morrissey album, Viva Hate, where he became a story-teller. Then he did albums like Kill Uncle, which were critically panned, but they seemed to speak to me. Obviously, I came to it late as a kid, and I didn't always know what the songs meant. I just thought they were fun and cheeky.”
Totally agree. At last someone dares to say it publicly.
 

countthree

Obvious person
The Evening Standard.
4/5*s.

Letters to Morrissey, Edinburgh Festival review: A funny and touching piece.

"It’s 1997, you’re 11, living in small-town Scotland and you feel “other”; a lad who desperately wants to fit in, but who is careful not to do anything that brings attention to yourself in this hopeless place. Then one day you see Morrissey on television singing: “I am human and I need to be loved."

https://www.standard.co.uk/goingout...view-a-funny-and-touching-piece-a3614561.html
Great illustration here

 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
4/5*s - Kirstyn Smith.
Heartbreaking, triumphant take on growing up a misfit in working-class Scotland.

The stage is set with all the trapping of your stereotypical Morrissey fan: piles of books and records, magazines, a record player, a lone gladioli in a glass. Gary is writing his final letter to Morrissey from the top of a hill in his 'shit town', and starts off (as most Morrissey fans do) with acknowledging the iconic singer's problematic image of recent times.

Letters to Morrissey is the third in McNair's trilogy of work that explores the struggles and occasional pleasures of growing up working class in Scotland. Teenage McNair relates to the younger Morrissey, the one who sang of the joys of being an outsider: 'he dared us not to fit in,' McNair explains, not to fall victim to the strangleholds of masculinity, and he's precisely the person McNair needs to hear from. He has a secret that he can't tell his school counsellor or any of his friends. Subsequently, McNair becomes obsessed with getting a reply from Morrissey.

McNair is obviously a big fan of Morrissey; he talks with familiarity and wit about the relationship many of the singer's more zealous fan base have with him. 'We'd do anything for you,' he says. 'And I think you'd do the same for us.' At the same time, the relationship between McNair and his best friend, Tony, is explored, and the similarities are palpable. McNair has both on a pedestal, but it's Tony he's worried about. Cos Tony pushed his mum down the stairs, and now he's being bullied to breaking point and will be moved to a different school.

McNair is great at portraying the one person in town who feels like a misfit, and he plays his two sides off each other perfectly. On one hand, he's the cliched teenage Morrissey fan who drops song lyrics into everyday speech as though it's incredibly clever, and writes essays about how the death penalty should be made legal for one person in the world: Margaret Thatcher. On the other, he's a desperate young guy who, when it's announced Morrissey is coming to town (well, to Glasgow), realises he has the chance to get his answer in person.

The build up to the gig is a beautiful whirlwind of flashing lights, anticipatory crescendos and the pure passion of someone who has been a fan, one of those fans who would, absolutely, lay down their life for their hero. And the climax to the best night of McNair's life is wonderful and painful and precisely what Morrissey would do. McNair does obsession and fear in a way that's relatable and heartbreaking; Letters to Morrissey is a triumph.


Traverse, until 27 Aug, times vary, £19.50 (£9.50--£14.50).

https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/94654-letters-to-morrissey/

Regards,
FWD.
 

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