I had the time of my life, and its high time, at my time of life!

J. FERGUS LAMONT, arts critic and author of the 900-page opus ‘I Canna Believe It!: A post-Brechtian analysis of the Life and Work of Cameron Stout’, attended His Majestys Theatre this week.

Few will be aware of the new piece of experimental theatre, ‘Dirty Dancing’, currently playing at Aberdeen’s foremost avant garde performance space, HMT, but the complex power of this stunning work can not be over stated. You may never have heard of it; it has received little, if any, promotion, but I can assure you this is the most moving production I have witnessed since the Singing Kettle’s towering ‘Funny Farm’.

Based on an obscure arthouse movie from the director Emile Ardolino, (best known, of course, as auteur of the Pinter-esque ‘Three Men and a Little Lady’) it fuses dialogue, dance and, principally, wardrobe, in a searing indictment of postwar American hypocrisy.

I was particularly touched by the moment when, clutching a watermelon (symbolising both the weight and power of the womb), the ingénue, ‘Baby’ is rebuffed by the emotionally impotent ‘Johnny’.  I attempted to mount the stage at this point to offer my congratulations to all concerned, but, having been restrained by an usherette, had to be content with a hearty cry of ‘Bravo!’ which the cast greatly appreciated. Indeed, ‘Johnny’ even broke off from his rendition of “Hungry Eyes’ to glare approvingly at me.

The plot is intricate, yet deceptively simple. It can best be understood as a heady distillation of King Lear, with more than a nod in the direction of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, and flourishes of Hi-De-Hi.

Last night’s clearly knowledgeable audience were aware of the symbolism of the piece, many joining in with key sections.  Indeed, one group of young ladies in my vicinity, seemed drunk on the raw emotional force of the more intimate scenes, regularly yelling “Get them off!” – no doubt referring to the socio-economic chains binding the visionary Johnny to his bourgeois paymasters.

And then, it happened! In a moment like none I have experienced before in all my years a theatre critic, Johnny declaimed “Nobody puts baby in the corner” and the audience, so intensely affected by this universal truth, rose as one to whoop, not cheer, but WHOOP! – their approval.

Suffice to say that at it’s climax, as ‘Baby’ was hoist aloft by the now redeemed Johnny, in a moment of such startling spontaneity that it can only have been improvised on the night, I felt moved to cry out a  ‘Bravissimo!’ At which point ‘Johnny’ dropped her into the orchestra pit. A searing coup de theatre.

I wept.

Community Policeman PC BOBBY CONSTABLE adds his voice to the recent debate about police privatization.

Grumpian his aye been in the forefront of police innovation.  We wis the first force in Britain to work oot foo tae extract a confession withoot leaving a mark. It wis fan the Custody Sergeant forgot to gie the prisoners their supper, and then DC Tubby Thomson came on the night shift wi a carry-oot fae the Ashvale. Fan the boys in the cells got a whiff o’ it, they telt us a’thing they kent in exchange for a puklie chips and a bit o his fite pudding. It’s worked a treat for us ever since.  Also, I am proud to say that I personally wiz leaking information to my pal at the Fetteresso Enquirer long afore the boys in the Met cottoned onto the idea.  How else do you think they managed to get ahold of the shock exclusive that Henry Stirling’s prize heifer hid Brucellosis?

But the commercialization of policing is nothing new. Speed cameras is a good example, fit a money we mak oot o’ them!  The day they first come in, we made a mint, clocking up ower a hunner speeding tickets inside fifteen minutes on the A90.  Then we noticed we hid the thing set tae 30 mile an ‘oor. Unfortunately, camera revenue is fit they cry “ring-fenced”.  So a’ the speeding fines we tak in his tae be spent on road safety: very frustrating when you ken that money could be put to better use, like community outreach, crime prevention, or an all-inclusive cruise roond the Dardanelles for me and Mrs Constable.

That is fit wye I hiv launched “Operation Kipper”.  Faniver I lift a burglar wi’ a laptop in his holdall – I simply plant some drugs on him.  Afore he starts bleating on aboot his Human Rights and a’ that Greenpeace muck, I says, I’ll drap a’ the charges if he hands ower the computer. Quick trip tae Cash Converters, twa hunner quid.

Noo, some folk are opposed to my methods. Victims of crime, for example. And ither policemen. But if I charges him, the laptop wid be evidence.  And the fingerprint boys wid mak a sotter o’ it wi’ their talcum pooder, significantly reducing it’s resale value.

Onywye, you canna argue wi’ results. On my beat, recorded crime is at an all time low and if you want to ken the time, ask Pc Bobby Constable. I’ll check my Rolex!

Mind how ye go noo!