Better Days: A 90’s house music one-man play looking back at Scottish music culture of the era

Inspired by trips to the Arches and the Scottish music culture of the time - the show is quite the 90’s experience
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Last night saw the Glasgow premiere of a 90’s rave and house music play inspired heavily by the Scottish clubbing scene at the time.

Created by Scottish TV writer Ben Tagoe, the play, called Better Days, tells the story of Danny, a 19-year-old in 1990, who finds himself at a crossroads between two tribes – the burgeoning house music scene and the gang of football hooligans to which he is bound by fierce loyalty.

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Better Days played it’s first Glasgow show last night, March 8, in the Webster’s Theatre - with the show playing in Edinburgh tonight, March 9, Perth on March 10, and Dundee on March 11.

The one-man show’s most unique offering is it’s soundtrack - featuring some of the biggest rave and clubbing tunes of the era - including tracks from Glasgow’s own Slam DJs - whose music features heavily and plays during some of the plays most stand-out moments.

Born and raised in Perth, Ben was a regular in the house music scene in the East of Scotland, particularly in his hometown Rhumba club of which he holds many fond memories.

While the show isn’t entirely autobiographical, Tagoe says it draws on his own experience from the scene and those of friends.

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For the director, the play is a return to writing for theatre after a number of years away, having spent recent years writing on television shows from Sky Comedy In the Long Run to James Nesbitt-starring Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.

Starring in the play is up-and-coming young actor George Martin from Hull - who carries the one-man play with his performance.

Speaking about last night’s show Ben said:“The response to the show has been mental, particularly last night’s show in Glasgow - so many people stayed behind for the post-show conversation and honestly I could have gone on all night.

“I’m so glad people have been responding to it, it’s for the clubbing generation of the 90’s. The type of people nowadays who probably don’t go out clubbing, but still love the music and the culture.

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“So the play’s whole soundtrack is house, rave and club music from the 90’s - in fact the most pivotal moments from the play are underscored by Slam tracks and mixes like Eterna, Sunscreem, and Positive Education.”

Better Days is a coming-of-age story, following the transient era of the 90s when the underground music culture of house music came to the forefront. It follows the story of Danny - heavily influenced by Ben’s experiences in the scene - as he manages his relationships with friends and family whilst connecting with people going to clubs.

Better Days played its first Glasgow show in the Webster’s Theatre last night, March 8Better Days played its first Glasgow show in the Webster’s Theatre last night, March 8
Better Days played its first Glasgow show in the Webster’s Theatre last night, March 8

Ben spoke about the story and production of Better Days, he said:”It’s a one man show telling the story of a young guy involved in football by violence, before he’s seduced by house music - a recognisable story that a lot of people from my generation can relate to.

“It’s a way of telling the story of house music in Scotland in a different way - bringing people together to enjoy the music and the story. It’s drawn from personal experience as well as those of friends coming up in the scene.

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“I aimed to capture everything from the era that I could in the show - from the fashion to the music to the general scene - stuff that should be iconic for people that were there.”

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