Garage Warriors

Aug 15 2023 | By More

★★★★☆     Strong writing debut

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53): Mon 14 – Sat 19 Aug 2023
Review by Tom Ralphs

Garage Warriors, Lewis Aitken’s writing debut for Raw Toast Productions at Surgeons Hall, is inspired by Chat GPT but thankfully not written with the aid of it.

Exploring a world where technology is taking over and making people redundant, Aitken also avoids any temptation there might have been for making this a futuristic play in a foreign land and instead keeps the action firmly rooted in a garage on the North side of South Queensferry.

Martin Mitchell, Lewis Aitken, Grant Richie and Jordan Kielty in Garage Warriors. Pic: Raw Toast.

This small detail of the setting instantly suggests that Aitken knows the basics of comedy writing, making the leafy streets of South Queensferry sound like they could somehow be the Bronx to its younger residents. The premise of the play adds to this, as Archie (Grant Richie) invites his three best friends round to the garage on a secret mission which, he very quickly reveals, is to go off the grid, leave technology behind and move to Carol in the North of Scotland.

Richie brings the perfect level of nervous energy and belief in his mission to the part of Archie. His at times manic commitment to the task he is setting, alongside his lack of knowledge about how to go about it, is superbly brought across in his performance.


The three friends are also perfectly written and perfectly cast, with Aitken showing that he knows the dynamics of classic comedy lads ensembles from Gregory’s Girl through to the In-Betweeners and more. As well as Archie, there is Rory (Jordan Kielty), the best friend who supports his mate even when he doubts his wisdom, Greg (Morgan Mitchell), the intelligent one who thinks of a plan to avoid doing the unthinkable, and Finlay (Lewis Aitken), the fool of the group who has no quality control switch for what he says.

Grant Richie, Lewis Aitken, Martin Mitchell and Jordan Kielty in Garage Warriors. Pic: Raw Toast.

While it’s true that as Finlay, Aitken has given himself the best lines, it’s also true that he’s the only one of the four that could really play this role. He has the perfect physical appearance and facial expressions needed to pull it off. Likewise Kielty and Mitchell also make perfect sense in the roles they’re playing. The casting is a testament to Matthew Attwood’s choices as a director, and the performances show that he got every big call right.

The minimal staging of the play, with three chairs, a bean bag, some newspaper and a small table and laptop, captures the setting superbly and allows for the actors to make the most of the limited space available to them.

making people laugh

As the story develops, the stakes get higher with Archie taking more extreme action to overcome obstacles to his plan, while at least some of the others plot against him. Here again, Aitken shows his potential as a comedy writer, recognising the importance of believable and likeable characters, one liners, and obstacles and opportunities, as the key ways to hold an audience’s attention and get them to care about the outcome however ridiculous the situation may be.

Garage Warriors is not a play that’s going to change the world and nor does it set out to be. Instead it is aimed purely at making people laugh, with the concerns about the rise of technology merely the backdrop to a story and a situation that lets four characters be themselves. It’s in a time slot that is perfect for light-hearted plays that don’t take themselves too seriously, a role this play fits to a tee.

Running time: 50 minutes (no interval)
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Nicolson Street, EH8 9DW (Venue 53)
Monday 14 – Saturday 19 August 2023
Daily at 3.55pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Raw Toast links

Twitter: @RawestOfToasts
Facebook:  @RawToastProductions
Instagram: @rawtoastproductions

Martin Mitchell and Jordan Kielty in Garage Warriors. Pic: Raw Toast.



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