Review: Fags, Mags and Bags (rating 3/5)
This BBC Radio 4 comedy show, which began in 2007, is set in a local convenience store in the Glasgow suburb of Lenzie and celebrates the ordinary and the everyday as shopkeeper Ramesh and his long-standing assistant Dave keep the store running in a way that defiantly risks all attempts at progress.
If you already know this, then the chances are that this will be on your list of shows to see at the Fringe, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed unless you were hoping for a new episode. The show is an extended version of an episode called ‘Meter Reading Chic’ that was originally the final show when the series was cancelled in 2013, before being recommissioned three years later.
The performance is delivered as it would be for a radio recording. With the exception of writers and main actors Sanjeev Kohli and Donald McLeary, the cast are seated at either side of the stage, come to the microphones for their scenes, which are read script in hand, and then return to their seats afterwards.
All of which means that it runs the risk of being something that will appeal to fans of the show but may be unlikely to win any new converts. That said, you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of the show to appreciate the script. The situation is generally recognisable, as Ramesh contemplates closing the store after 30 years. Alongside the running gags, which inevitably work better if you know the characters, there is a good mix of topical and not so topical references – 80’s TV drama Tenko and the Two Ronnies – to make it work for a wider audience.
The gentle humour draws you in, and there may be a few more people looking to find out when the show returns to radio. A great performance.
Underbelly George Square, 2 to 26 August