aim with this show is to introduce us to Arthur Craven, the infamous
early 20th-century poet, boxer and all-round rascal, who
also, Grierson tells us, happens to be the actor's great grandfather.
Whether this is actually true remains ambiguous, as do many other
details of the show, but Grierson is unequivocal: every word of this
piece is the truth, so we'd better believe it. And whether we do or
not, it's an engaging set-up, one that causes us to question the
nature of storytelling, theatre and narrative authority.
is a master when it comes to interacting with his audience, assigning
administrative roles, bringing audience members on board to play
various parts in the story he tells and even instructing the crowd in
the intricacies of paper folding. The key to Grierson's success here
is the actor's easy-going manner, along with the wit and flair of the
script, which was co-written by Grierson and his director Lorne Campbell.
persuasive is when Grierson moves from jocular to sincere in his
attempt to impress upon us the importance of the show's underlying
message. The piece's later forays into transubstantiation and moralising feel
rather heavy-handed compared to Grierson's earlier passionate and funny exploration of Arthur
Craven's life, making for an ending that ultimately fails in what it sets out to achieve. The majority of Tonight Sandy Grierson Will Lecture, Dance and Box, however, is hugely entertaining and imaginative and certainly worth an hour of your time.