Reservoir Dugs

Aug 15 2019 | By More

★★★☆☆  Hollywood radge

theSpace@Venue 45 (Venue 45): Fri 9 – Sat 17 Aug 2019
Review by Hugh Simpson

Reservoir Dugs by Cat O’ Nine Tales at theSpace at Venue 45 is exactly what it appears to be – Reservoir Dogs transplanted to Central Scotland.

Instead of sharp-suited gangsters, we have an assortment of neds and radges in hoodies and shell-suits, convening after a raid on a bookies has turned into a disastrous knife fight.

A scene from Reservoir Dugs. Pic: Cat O’Nine Tales

It is surprising that it there have not been more retoolings of Dogs. Virtually every other cult film of its era has become a musical, and since Tarantino movies rely heavily on songs, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to have the Michael Madsen character actually singing Stuck In The Middle With You as he takes up free-form shaving.

That song is here replaced by Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, which is reflective of the primary-coloured, sugar-rush feel. The gang here may still be wedded to cocaine, but it might as well be Haribo, as they caper, twitch and swear like a bunch of overgrown kids.

The adaptation works smoothly, with the violence depicted realistically enough. The replacement of guns with chibs, and references to Scottish towns, take some getting used to, but largely work.

The coolness of the original has become more cartoonish, and the desire to play for laughs comes a little too readily. The performances, however, are generally impressive.


The colour-themed aliases of the film here have become brands of cigarettes – Harvey Reid’s Rothman and Alex Card’s Marlboro anchor the story in some kind of reality, while Ross Donnachie’s Chesterfield is all twitchy comic expansiveness.

Harvey Reid. Pic: Cat O’Nine Tales

Chris Dennis gives the psychopathic Sterling a thoroughly evil self-possession, and Calum Ferguson’s Eddie has a childlike lack of control that is genuinely worrying. Kyle Murphy’s ill-fated cop has a stoic dignity. Stewart Kerr’s Jim is a Mr Big in performance as well as status, commanding and convincing.

Lewis Lauder’s direction has a speedy conviction, Ferguson’s adaptation is remarkably close to the original, but is most impressive when it diverts course. The ‘tipping’ scene, for example, becomes a disturbingly real portrait of young Scottish men sitting in a pub talking rubbish.

It is easy to believe that such an environment gave birth to the idea of Tarantino as redone by Irvine Welsh in the first place. And while many would have dismissed it instantly, or considered it worthy of a five-minute sketch at best, it is to Cat O’ Nine Tales’ credit that they have come up with something so coherent – even if fifty minutes seems about its limit.

However, there is certainly an audience for such a combination of American cool and Scottish swearing, and that audience will be well satisfied with this level of brio and swagger.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
theSpace@Venue 45, 63 Jeffrey St, EH1 1DH (Venue 45)
Friday 9 –Saturday 17 August 2019
Daily (not Sun 11) at 8.20 pm
Tickets and details:

Facebook: @CatO9TalesPro
Twitter: @cato9talesPro


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