Reservoir Dugs @ The Space

This Scottish adaptation of Tarantino's classic plays for laughs but delivers on dramatic violence

Review by Dominic Corr | 26 Aug 2019
  • 24:7 Theatre Festival

Disturbingly, despite sacrificing the suits for hoodies, tracksuits and cigarette codenames, Reservoir Dugs is a remarkably faithful adaption while stamping its Scottish mark on Tarantino’s classic.

Four 'neds' botch a jewellery heist. In the ensuing cock-up, they leave a trail of blood that leads directly to them. Cornered, bleeding out and smelling a rat, they all ask the same question – “Who set us up?”. Determined to find an answer, things begin to get grim.

Laughter seems to be a crutch for this adaptation, which is not necessarily a criticism; after all, there are few situations the Scottish don't find humour in. It treads the line carefully; had this simply been another comedic interpretation of a famous film, it would have fallen flat.

In true Tarantino fashion, the violence and bravado are ramped-up here. Stewart Kerr, as boss man Jim, intimidates with ease, and Chris Dennis puts a sadistic spin on his character, Sterling. In a role that requires hardly any speaking, Harvey Reid has a presence which makes an impressive impact as grounding character Rothman. 

As a whole, the piece seems slightly unsure of its own intention – there’s a sense of young adult gang culture pervading the production, rather than cold-hearted gangsters. It's unclear if the actions of the cast are the actions of kids trying to play it tough, or if the performers are unintentionally playing closer to their ages. It screams hyperactive, as opposed to coke-fuelled.

Despite this, Reservoir Dugs is a good production with strong performances that manages to be both funny and dramatic. 

Reservoir Dugs, The Space @ Venue 45, run ended