The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer

by Iain Heggie

29 September – 24 October 2009

The English premiere of the witty satirical new play by award-winning playwright Iain Heggie

★★★★ Four Stars, The Herald
★★★★ Four Stars, The Scotsman
★★★★ Four Stars, The Telegraph
★★★★ Four Stars, The Times
★★★★ Four Stars, Metro
★★★★ Four Stars, Scotland on Sunday
★★★★ Four Stars, The List
★★★★ Four Stars, WhatsOnStage

1775. Glasgow is booming, but the American war is looming, and the city’s wealth is dependent on the import and export of American tobacco. Can the great port survive?

However, this pressing question is NOT addressed by Enoch Dalmellington, Virginia Street. He is more concerned about marrying off his dreich pious humourless daughter Euphemia, being able to afford his pew at the Tron Kirk, and what to do about Mistress Zapata’s scurrilous predictions about life in 2009. Apparently “women will be attending university, the poor will all have water closets and his beloved Virginia Street will become a hotbed of sodomy!”

A huge sell-out success in Scotland on tour and in Glasgow at both Òran Mór and the Tron Theatre, the play now recieves its English premiere.

About The Playwright Iain Heggie

Award-winning playwright Iain Heggie is one of Scotland's leading playwrights, was born in Glasgow in 1953. His Mobil prize-winning play, A Wholly Healthy Glasgow (1988), and his John Whiting award-winning play, American Bagpipes (1989), both premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, and were later seen at The Royal Court. His short plays, The Sex Comedies (1993), have been produced many times in London, Scotland, Germany and Austria. His other plays include An Experienced Woman Gives Advice (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh), an adaptation of Moliere's Don Juan (Tour of Britain and Ireland 2001), an adaptation of Marivaux' Double Inconstancy (2003) retitled as Love Freaks (Tron Theatre, Glasgow), and King of Scotland (2001) and Wiping My Mother's Arse (2002) which both premiered at the Edinburgh Festival and won Fringe First awards. His latest play Global Warming Is Gay (2008) was performed by students of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where Iain is a regular teacher of acting, specializing in improvisation. As a companion piece, Iain’s new one man show, Wide Asleep, performed by the writer, is also presented at the Finborough Theatre for a limited Sunday and Monday run of six performances, opening Sunday, 4 October 2009.

About The Director Liz Carruthers

Director Liz Carruthers was born in Edinburgh and has been a theatre director for over twenty years. She was Scottish Arts Council Trainee Director at Perth Theatre, Staff Director at Chichester Festival Theatre and Artistic Director of Cumbernauld Theatre. As a freelance director, her work has been seen at the Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tron Theatre, Traverse Theatre, the Assembly Rooms, the Arches, the Gilded Balloon, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, the Purcell Rooms, Soho Theatre, the Gate, and touring venues all over Scotland and England. She has directed new plays by numerous Scottish playwrights including Ann Marie di Mambro, Louise Welsh, Stephen Greenhorn, Tom McGrath and John McKay. Recent work includes twelve new plays for Oran Mor, Glasgow and three Christmas productions for the MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling. Past productions have won the Guinness Pub Theatre Award, the LWT Plays on Stage Award and been nominated for the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Best New Play and Best Production for Children and Young People. The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer is her fourth collaboration with Iain Heggie.

The Press on Ian Heggie

“The dialogue cuts into paradox, swagger and self-defense as keenly as a surgeon's knife.” The Observer.
“Heggie's trademark raw and eloquent style” The Scotsman
"Heggie's cut-across dialogue crackles with life; fast, funny, foulmouthed." Times Educational Supplement
“The capricious cut-and-thrust of Heggie's dialogue” The Independent
“Iain Heggie…strikes exactly the right note of everyday lunacy.” The Scotsman

The Scottish Press on The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer

“Captivating storytelling….very funny” Keith Bruce, The Herald ★★★★ Four Stars

“For Iain Heggie, it's now 20 years since his Wholly Healthy Glasgow propelled him into the front line of Scottish playwrights; yet it's the same subject – a satire on the identity and pretensions of his home city, albeit with a very different twist – that dominates his new monologue… This classic piece of small-scale satire… Brilliant…”A brilliant satire” Joyce MacMillan, The Scotsman ★★★★ Four Stars

“Iain Heggie's delightful 18th-century comic monologue…There is no one in Scotland - with the exceptions, perhaps, of Liz Lochhead and John Byrne - who write such wonderful and substantial stage comedies as Heggie. …Brilliantly drawn… A truly lovely comic play.” Mark Brown, The Telegraph ★★★★  Four Stars

"A light-hearted play for today…a frivolous piece of fun…a breezily enjoyable piece of storytelling.” Mark Fisher, Northings

The English Press on The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer

“It has a charming gentility that both engages and amuses" Paul Vale, The Stage

“Insightful and moving...The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer maintains a delightful sense of humour throughout.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Part of the fun comes from the bevy of characters so carefully drawn here by Heggie. Although The Tobacco's Merchant's Lawyer is written for a solo voice, Heggie's rich depictions of Dalmellington's inner circle and Callum Cuthbertson's adept performance seem to summon this supporting cast to the stage.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“An enjoying monologue, written by an accomplished wordsmith and delivered by a sharp and captivating performer. Absorb a slice of history, in a most effortless and gratifying fashion, in this charming little space.” Samuel John, Extra!Extra!

“We are prompted to examine the gross injustices of the slave trade in America not via didactic grandstanding but through the actions of Heggie's main players.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer expertly parallels America's plight for sovereignty with similar Scottish rumblings.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Heggie's mini-narrative (running at a succinct 60 minutes) has won this critic's hardened heart but acclaim for this strong production can't rest solely on his shoulders.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer is essential autumn fare.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“The London premiere of Iain Heggie’s Edinburgh success, The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer, gets the autumn season at the Finborough off to a cracking start.” James Magniac,

“This is a witty and intelligent play that is unafraid to take on big issues and provides a barrel of laughs whilst doing so.” James Magniac,

“A gently post-modern period comedy.“ Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“An amusing monologue of resignation and adaptability.” Louise Kingsley, TNT

“Iain Heggie’s new play is an ode to the unchanging practicalities of family life.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Heggie’s sense of dramatic pace and timing make for an entertaining and occasionally educational evening” Paul Vale, The Stage

“One-man shows can often be a hit or miss affair, but thankfully, Callum Cuthbertson, who plays the practical lawyer Dalmellington, holds the stage well, with a natural delivery sweetened with a ripe Glaswegian burr and keen sense of timing.” Paul Vale, The Stage

“Callum Cuthbertson embodies Dalmellington with ease, endearing the audience to this sweet and charming anti-hero.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Callum Cuthbertson gives a bubbly and jovial turn as Enoch Dalemellington.“ Samuel John, Extra!Extra!

“Callum Cuthbertson…is exceptional. His Enoch is at once lovable, foolish and very human” James Magniac,

“Callum Cuthbertson holds the piece together very nicely, turning in a restrained, amusing performance as a man determined to meet his fate with as much ironic detachment as physically possible.“ Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“Callum Cuthbertson's technical skill and ability to deliver a good punch line as the local, Enoch Dalmellington, cannot be faulted.” Caroline Hall, Londonist

“Callum Cuthbertson’s sometimes wistful Dalmellington, invests it all with an unhurried acceptance modified by parental concern as he tries to be both mother and father to his worrisome offspring.” Louise Kingsley, TNT

“He is engaging and entertaining, playing the bumbling yet philosophical Dalmellington effortlessly and drawing the audience into the story.” Caroline Hall, Londonist

“Liz Carruthers also deserves kudos for a perfectly pitched production.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“Designers Gordon Bavaird, John Cairns, Marthe Hoffman and James Oswald contribute greatly to the mix, skillfully detailing Heggie's eighteenth century world.” Melissa Poll, British Theatre Guide

“The set is simply yet eloquently designed by Gordan Bovaird.” James Magniac,

29 September – 24 October 2009

Tickets and Times

Tuesday 7:30pm
Wednesday 7:30pm
Thursday 7:30pm
Friday 7:30pm
Saturday 3:00pm
Sunday 3:00pm

Approximately 1 hour with no interval