Gilded Balloon Cowgate

Thom Dibdin

OH, the joy of being in a band! The sexual favours . The drugs. The booze. The long, debauched bouts of hedonism.

Dave, Phil and Mick were in a band. Once. A whole generation ago. A band that took its tone from King Crimson and prog rock - at a time when the world was turning to punk. A band, which even had a hit - if two weeks at number 48 counts .

And now they have made like the Blues Brothers and put the band back together for four gigs only. They've got Tom, a young guitarist to replace their old, long-dead front man, and they're travelling up and down the motorways once again .

Except that tonight, the Transit van is sick. And, while Tom waits in the car park for the AA, the original trio are sitting in the deserted, after-midnight limbo of a British motorway service station.

There's Mick, portrayed by the play's author, Jim Sweeney. Nervous and irritable, he's suspicious of Tom and his strangely-smelling roll-up cigarettes. Mick left the band to study and enter into a nice, safe profession .

There's Phil, played by Steve Steen. He still lives for his music, and the antique shop he keeps is nothing more than an income to allow him to keep on playing in failed band after failed band.

Then there's Dave, played by Stephen Frost. Tall and solidly dependable, he's the kind of guy who couldn't ever have a fall-back job. He will be in bands for ever.

And that is it. Three guys, a table, chairs and a bottle of tequila. Nothing much happens. Memories are swapped and traded and made all the more grand in the process. Prejudices exposed.

While not a lot happens, it happens with sublime ease - as three characters define the hopes and fears of a whole generation. If you were there, you'll know.

  • Run ends August 26