Bruce Robertson, the anti-hero of Filth, is having a breakdown. His wife has deserted him, he has a nagging cocaine and alcohol habit, and on top of this, as Christmas draws close, a racially motivated murder to solve. But with messed up women to be pursued, tapeworms to be gotten rid off and drugs to be consumed, will this case make Bruce, or break him?
Filth premiered at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, 14th September, 1999.
Filth was conceived of as a one man show by Harry Gibson. It was performed by Tam Dean Burn, who as well as Bruce, played Carole, Shirley, Bladesey, Hector the Farmer, Bunty, Gus, Andy Clelland, Amanda Drummond, Dougie Gillman, Peter Inglis, James Niddrie, Ray Lennox, Marianne San Yung, Bob Toal, Old Ina, Lexo, Ghostie, Ocky, Stephanie, Mrs Sim, Dr Patel, Brian Scullion, Sinky, John Lewis staffer, Lassie with broken leg, Paramedic and intestinal worm.
How do they expect me to do my job under these circumstances?
I need a proper laundry service.
I go to the public bogs, whip everything downand remove the dampness from my arse with toilet paper. Then I scratch like fuck but it stings as the grease from the bacon rolls is still under my nails. I claw and claw, feeling a delicious liberation as the wound tears and pulsates. I see blood on my fingers...
My balls are not so bad.
-Bruce Robertson, on a toilet break after the bakers.
This was a magnificent tour-de-force by Tam Dean Burn, who blazed a trail across the stage from start to finish. Tam has done this so many, many times now, and worries that he's getting too old to play Bruce. No way, he could do it when he's sixty-four. I don't think I've ever seen an actor give so much to a stage performance. Filth has a brilliant set and I think it's probably even better than Trainspotting on stage, and is Harry's most inspired adaptation.