Packing up: Rock of Ages
Review: Top Story at the Old Vic Tunnels

Review: So Great A Crime at the Finborough Theatre

SoGreatACrime_600-300x200I have two problems with David Gooderson's play So Great A Crime, which is a shame because at the end it nearly moved me to tears.

It is the story of Sir Hector 'Fighting Mac' Macdonald, born a Highland crofter's son who worked his way up through the ranks of the army, distinguishing himself in battle, only to commit suicide when accused of inappropriate behaviour with young boys.

My first problem is choppiness of the first half, lots of short scenes interjected with some random moments such as when one of the actors playing multiple parts pretends to forget which character he is playing breaking the fourth wall.

There is also a random song where the words of a familiar hymn are changed to reflect people's feelings about Mac. It is an unnecessary distraction from an otherwise fascinating and moving story that doesn't really come into its own until the scenes get longer in the latter stages of the second half.

My second problem relates to how the story is offered up. On the the back of the programme, the piece is described as "a fascinating journey into an unsolved historical mystery" which would be great if Gooderson didn't leave you in any doubt as to what he thinks happened. I kept waiting for a hint of conflicting evidence but none came.

Mac's story, as told by Gooderson is a tragic tale of class snobbery and pride painted as a mystery and as such it doesn't always work.  That said, I could have listened to Stuart McGugan, soft lilting Scottish accent all evening.

So Great A Crime runs at the Finborough Theatre on selected dates until January 22.