Lockdown reviews: Crocodile Rock

Today’s show is a musical, Crocodile Rock, from the BBC Scotland television series A Play, A Pie and a Pint: available on demand until 15 April, and filmed at the Òran Mór Theatre in Glasgow.

Darren Brownlie (a strong singer and convincing actor) stars in this one-man musical set in tough working-class Scotland, as Stephen, a young teenage boy finding his feet and his identity.

Dad runs the family pub, Mum is understanding, school is hard: but this is an enjoyable and emotional LGBTQ+ show (written, composed and directed by Andy McGregor) which has several anthemic songs as well as softer pieces which drive the narrative.

Darren Brownlie in Crocodile Rock

“That would be anything but easy”. Stephen’s version of I Am What I Am in the bar by the end is a cry of triumph. He is no longer afraid of the bully who pushed him away. He doesn’t want to go into the business his dad has set up for him. He is his own man.

The set (by Gemma Patchett and Jonsthan Scott) is piled high with boxes, labelled ready for a move. The band – Gavin Whitworth and Gary Cameron – are located off to the side, behind keyboards. The lighting, designed by Ross Kirkland, fits the mood and the moment.

Stephen, centre stage for his story, is an isolated storyteller, growing in confidence with a slash of red lipstick. Trying to find a niche where he can slot in without feeling alone or afraid. It’s a compelling performance from an assured Brownlie.

Darren Brownlie in Crocodile Rock

“I wrapped myself up in a world of fear … now I’ve found my people, found my place”.

Crocodile Rock is a monologue with music which grows into something more than it appears at the start. It’s something rather delicate, beautiful at the edges with a core of steel.

Production header image courtesy of PlayPiePint Instagram.