Sean and Daro Flake It ‘til They Make It

Apr 16 2023 | By More

★★★★☆     Cone-tastic comedy

Traverse: Fri 14 – Sun 23 April 2023
Review by Allan Wilson

Sean and Daro Flake It ‘til They Make It, Laurie Motherwell’s new cone-tastic comedy at the Traverse until Sunday 23 April, is the theatre’s first in-house production in its 60th Anniversary year.

Directed with imagination and skill by Robert Softly Gale, it features River City’s Sean Connor and Cameron Fulton as two young men struggling to build an ice cream business in Glasgow. They also have to cope with grief and the darker side of Glasgow’s underbelly.

Cameron Fulton and Sean Connor in Sean and Daro Flake It ‘til They Make It. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

Sean and Daro, best pals at school, drifted apart when Sean went off to university, while Daro stumbled through a series of unskilled jobs.

When they are reunited following the funeral of Sean’s mother, Daro – who thinks he has a head for business and sees himself following in the footsteps of Branson, Sugar and Bannatyne (who started as an ice cream seller), invites Sean to join him in buying and running a second-hand ice cream van.

The initially sceptical Daro is soon converted by their shared memories of happy childhood days punctuated with ice cream, raspberry sauce and 99s.

Comfort and Joy

There is a lyrical quality to Motherwell’s text as he uses comedy to explore grief, male bonding and inequality in society, cleverly having Sean switch between responding to Daro’s wisecracks one moment and addressing the audience directly the next. The writer makes a subtle nod towards Bill Paterson’s ice cream wars comedy from the 1980s when Daro jokes about bringing Comfort and Joy to people at a funeral with ice cream.

Cameron Fulton and Sean Connor in Sean and Daro Flake It ‘til They Make It. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic

After a tasty summer making a small profit, Sean and Daro soon find themselves on an icy slope as winter approaches, sales slide and their friendship turns frosty. The action takes a darker turn in encounters with the police, a money lender and a drug dealer who mistakes their free sample bags of sherbet as something a little more potent.

Karen Tennant’s imaginative set seats a couple of dozen audience members on the stage. Towards the end, they are given free sample bags of sherbet, but it might have been good to include more audience involvement earlier in the proceedings. At the back of the stage there appears to be a big barn whose sliding doors are opened at the appropriate time to reveal the ice cream van.

Novasound’s sound design punctuates key moments of the production, starting with an atmospheric combination of organ and drums for the opening scene and appropriate choices for our heroes’ desperate attempts to increase their sales, selling to everyone from spectators at an international rugby match to late night clubbers.

echoes of past Glasgow comedy greats

In Fulton’s endlessly optimistic Daro and Connor’s more serious Sean, Motherwell has created a comedy duo that brings back echoes of past Glasgow comedy greats such as Ricky Fulton and Jack Milroy.

The ease with which Connor and Fulton work together to bring Motherwell’s text to life suggests that the characters might have a further life with more adventures, either on stage, or in a comedy club if they need a break from television.

Running time: One hour and 15 minutes (without interval)
Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
Fri 14 – Sun 23 April 2023.
Tue – Sat: 7.30pm; Sun 23: 2pm. (Traverse 1).
Tickets and details: Book here.

Sean Connor and Cameron in Sean and Daro Flake It ‘til They Make It. Pic: Mihaela Bodlovic


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