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Tryst To Stage John Byrne's "Cuttin' A Rug"

Tryst’s autumn show will be John Byrne’s wonderful Cuttin’ a Rug, the second play in his Slab Boys trilogy from 1979.

It’s on November 6-8 in Bowhouse Community Centre at 7.30pm.

Cuttin' a Rug, “a stags and hens comedy”, is set in Paisley Town Hall, on a Friday evening in 1957, at the Annual Staff Dance of AF Stobo & Co. So what does the title mean?

It’s an old slang expression and a play on words. Dancers were said to “cut a rug” when they danced so energetically that they would have worn out a carpet. And Stobo’s are carpet manufacturers, so it’s a clever pun.

Act One takes place in the ladies' and gents' cloakrooms, Act Two on the terrace overlooking the town. Although it’s a comedy, there are moments of Godberesque social comment but the ending is optimistic and uplifting. As Spanky says: "I'm nineteen with a wardrobe full of clothes... I've got everything to live for!"

The ten characters are John Byrne’s hero and alter ego, Phil McCann (Brian Paterson). A dapper dresser, he’s just been sacked and turned down for Art School. Spanky Farrell (Billy Treeby) is Phil's wisecracking pal. Hector McKenzie (Ross Melville) is speccy, weedy and infatuated with Lucille. He’s newly-promoted from the Slab Room to a Designer's desk. Terry Skinnedar (Stuart Reid), a hard case, is a snappy dresser and fancies himself as Elvis. Bernadette is his babe. Alan Downie (Brian Tripney) is a University student temporarily in the Slab Room and has borrowed his Dad’s sports car for the night. Willie Curry (Richard Macintosh) is the Design Room Gaffer and in charge of the dance arrangements and speeches. He’s ex-army.

Lucille Bentley (Joanne Davidson) is a good-looking doll and every slab boy’s dream. Her best chum is Bernadette Rooney (Rhona Law), also a stunner. Miss Walkinshaw (Clare Scougall) is a maiden lady of indeterminate years. She’s at the Dance on her own, goes downhill with drink and fancies herself as a bingo caller. And Sadie (Carol Clark) is Stobo's tea lady. She’s also on her own. For some reason, she has it in for Miss Walkinshaw. She has Carmen Miranda shoes and bad feet.

Directed by Jim Allan, Cuttin’ a Rug is a funny and perceptive play, full of memorable cartoon characters, black humour and machine-gun one-liners. It's a perfect antidote to dark November nights.

Tickets are available from the Tryst Box Office on 01324 715886. - Tryst Theatre is a registered Scottish charity, No SC003303