'Anorak of Fire' review

ANORAK OF FIRE by Stephen Dinsdale
United Reformed Church, Buxton (reviewed) & tour. July 2009

You know from the title what you might be expecting and this production doesn't let you down. From Pramhood to almost losing his virginity, Gus introduces us to the secretive world of the Trainspotter.

None of the brashness of that other Trainspotting work, this is a far gentler tale of lost souls, lost to the joys of 'spotting'. Less a hobby and more a way of life, G. J. Gascoigne reveals his life story and the influence that 'spotting' has had on the many and varied facets of what it is, to be human.

We learn about life on Crewe station, the correct dress code, personal rivalries and even the Filth make their mark! There are some astonishing facts about 'spotting'; did you know for example that marriage is failing, birth rate is falling and 'spotting' is increasing! Fact! (apparently).

And then there is Jim O'Rourke. A legend. And it is his anorak that is the title of this piece.

All of this is delivered faultlessly by Chris Leach, who makes the character of Gus completely believable. This is a gentle comedy in the style many have come to love. The audience too seemed to love it, with chortles and laughs from those around me evidence of their enjoyment.

If you like a stroll through the psyche of the obsessed, unconcerned and honest then this is for you.

Ian Heath