Victor and Barry return: Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson bring 1980s act to Royal Concert Hall in August

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It’s been 40 years since Alan and Forbes debuted their Glasgow West End characters Victor MacIlvaney and Barry McLeish at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The act became both a fixture on the Scottish comedy scene for over a decade and inspiration for characters on BBC sitcom The High Life.

Now the pair will reunite on stage for a special event celebrating their nostalgic new book Victor and Barry’s Kelvinside Compendium: A Meander Down Memory Close. Alan and Forbes will reunite at the Royal Concert Hall to reminisce about Victor and Barry, sharing their memories alongside classic scripts, interviews, memorabilia and fond memories from celebrity fans and collaborators.

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“Victor and Barry have had such a huge effect on both our lives. What we learned as writers and performers has influenced and stayed with us all through our careers, so looking back and celebrating the incredible experiences and the huge amount of laughs Victor and Barry gave us and our audiences has been a joy and we can’t wait to share it with everyone” they say.

They created the characters in 1982 as part of a cabaret event for the final year students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.

Victor and Barry became huge stars thanks to annual Fringe runs and TV appearances but were “killed off” at a benefit night at the London Palladium in 1992. However the actors reunited to write and appear in The High Life, which was snapped up by the BBC in 1995.

The pair are currently developing a musical adaptation of their cult airline sitcom The High Life. Written by and starring Cumming and Masson as air stewards, the narcissistic Sebastian Flight and Steve McCracken, the sitcom was set aboard the fictional Air Scotia, flying out of Prestwick Airport. It co-starred Siobhan Redmond (Two Doors Down) as chief steward Shona and Patrick Ryecart (The Crown) as deranged pilot Captain Duff.

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Speaking at an in-conversation event with the writer Michael Pedersen at Edinburgh University, Cumming said: “I’ve been talking a lot about getting older of late, because of the concert show that I’m touring, and this past week I’ve been in Glasgow with the National Theatre of Scotland workshopping a musical of the High Life that we’re going to do.”

Masson told The Scotsman: “Alan and I hadn't properly seen each other for a long time before we started working on the book.

"The last time I saw him properly was in 2011 was when I was over in New York with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and I had my wife and kids with me. He took us all out to his place in the Catskill Mountains and we played the Victor and Barry records under the stars - it was surreal.

“We needed to have some space from each other. When you work as a sort of ‘travelling player’ you can get really close to people and then you move on. You get back together with them again years later and it’s like no time at all has passed.

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"We wrote the Victor and Barry book together over Zoom. We did so much together when we were kids. The connection we had was just extraordinary. We had such fun doing the book together. We just thought: ‘This has been great – we should do something else.’

Victor and Barry's Kelvinside Compendium: Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Thursday 8 August, last tickets available here.

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