The Steamie at Dundee Caird Hall (3-7 April 2012)
This Easter weekend, the 25th Anniversary tour of beloved Scottish play The Steamie comes to Dundee's Caird Hall for a four night run; the tour also visits Edinburgh.
Tony Roper – yes, Jamesie Cotter from Rab C. Nesbitt – wrote the play in his late forties in a biro and a jotter. It was his first ever play. It was widely rejected as having no plot by every theatre company in the land before Wildcat Stage Productions first performed it in 1987. It was a huge success.
The play remains popular even though fewer audience members directly remember its 1950s setting.
"Steamies" (or "washies") were corporation wash houses; communal clothes-washing places. Women from the city would take their washing there and pay a small fee to use the facilities to hand wash their families' clothes. Now that clothes washing is automated by a convenient white machine in your house, The Steamie is a window into a bygone era.
It's also a look at the nature of communities at the time. Residents saw cities change drastically in the 50s and 60s. It might be nostalgic, but it doesn't over-romanticise what were tough times for these characters.
It might be set in a world that only people drawing a pension remember, but this doesn't diminish its appeal to a wider audience. In 2009 it came second in an STV poll to find Scotland's best loved shows. Only Taggart received more votes.
The 25th Anniversary tour celebrates the play's place in Scottish culture. It's hugely entertaining and with Roper himself directing it's a rare chance to see it performed the way he imagines it.
More information about performances at Caird Hall - within walking distance of Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa.
More information about performances in Edinburgh