In the September of 1954 the kids of the Gorbals little suspected that they would pass into the history of Glasgow and yet they did. If you have not heard the story before, the short version is that the kids of the Gorbals all ganged up and went hunting in the Southern Necropolis for a vampire that had put the bite on two of their own. So over three nights in late September 1954, they haunted the Southern Necropolis looking for the vampire with iron teeth armed with a plethora of weapons ranging from what they could sneak out of their Mum’s kitchen, Dad’s toolbox or whatever they could create themselves. Oddly Historical’s account certainly puts the bite on this story in their article.
I had heard of this story and I always fancied finding out a bit more. So when the Citizens’ Theatre popped up in my social media feed with the news that they were going to put on a play about this. The fact that Frank Quitely had done the poster certainly helped to fuel my determination to see it.
My original interest was due to the fact that I understood that this incident had helped fuel the moral panic over the importing of American Horror Comics at the time and had led to them being banned, which in turn may have helped Marvel and DC to get such cachet in the 1960s when they began to be imported in larger numbers.
However, the play pointed to several culprits such as the fact that Scotland has its’ own monsters in our mythology that were as terrifying as vampires with iron teeth such as mothers who could do a world of laldy on you a lot quicker than any vampire you had not seen!
This black comedy was put on by the Citizens Theatre Community, a group of amateur actors that support the theatre, but from watching the play, I was engrossed from the first entrance to the final words and I have seen professional casts struggle to put on as good a performance as the one that I was fortunate to witness.
It was a play worth watching as a piece of art, but its’ examination of an historical event added to my enjoyment of the play. And to meet Johnny McKnight, the writer of the piece, afterwards was certainly an added bonus.
So that the two comic fans that read this blog know that I am not betraying my roots, here is the poster that is a limited run being sold by the theatre. The limited run is signed by Frank, but I cheated and made my slightly more limited by asked Johnny to also sign it.
Normally, this is where I would sign off, but I have to finish with what I think was the best line of the entire performance.
If they cannae see our tears, how are they gonnae hear our screams?