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Keir McAllister's Edinburgh Fringe Festival theatre hit comes off The Bench for Eden Court performance

By Kyle Walker

A COMEDY/drama about finding a safe place in a dangerous world starring two of Scotland’s brightest stand up talents comes to Eden Court next week.

The Bench arrives at the Inverness theatre on Monday night following a successful and critically acclaimed Fringe run last year.

Directed by comedian Jojo Sutherland, the play reunites longtime comedy collaborators Keir McAllister (who also wrote The Bench) and Paul Sneddon – better known via his comedy personas Vladimir McTavish or Bob Doolally.

The two play, respectively, Joe and Sandy, two men who come to conflict over the park bench that has such different but similarly important meaning to each of them.

Despite performing comedy together for many years, this marks their first theatrical collaboration.

“I’d originally written it for two other actors – Michael Redmond who was in Father Ted and another actor – and then they couldn’t do it,” Keir explained.

“So Paul and I – I’ve worked with Paul in comedy, I’ve worked with him for years – we just decided at the last moment really during the Fringe that we would do a run.

“And then the Gilded Balloon came forward and said that they liked the script, and then everything kind of fell from there really.”

The play was inspired by an actual bench in the Inverclyde town of Gourock. “It’s looking out to the sea, and it’s obviously a memorial bench – somebody has put a plaque on it.

“But over the course of a couple of months, it kind of, the stuff that had been, the flowers, the toys, all this stuff piled up to the point that you couldn’t actually sit on this bench.”

The play arrives off the back of multiple strong reviews during its Fringe run, including The Stage, and The Scotsman.

“Out of all the things that I’ve done, you kind of expect a response,” Keir said. “But this was a thing which I just thought would be a little quiet play and then it would go away and I’d move on and do something else.

“But yeah, it’s kind of taken me – I’ve been quite surprised by how well it’s done and how people have responded to it.

“It’s always the projects that you never expect that kind of leap up and take you to places that you didn’t know.”

The Bench is performed at Eden Court, Inverness on Monday night. The show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £12. For more info, go to www.watchthisspaceproductions.com

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