30 January 2023
The Scotsman (p.33)
★ ★ ★
At the Platform, meanwhile, director Ellie Harrison and her team deal with a different kind of heartbreak, as Bus Regulation: The Musical charts the decades-long shift in UK politics which saw Glasgow’s public transport decline from its world-beating Corporation tram system to the deregulated chaos of 1980s “bus wars”, and the present patchwork of expensive and unreliable privatised services. The show started in Manchester in 2019 as part of a campaign that led to the city becoming the first in England to re-regulate its buses. This version hopes to achieve something similar for Glasgow.
The show itself is more illustrated lecture than musical, in which campaigner Katy Thomson, in the uniform of a 1950s clippie, talks us briskly through the history of Glasgow’s bus industry, while a team of young performers swoop around on rollerskates, representing its buses in their ever-changing liveries. For those interested in the relationship between theatre and politics, though, it offers a powerful piece of agitprop, and an excellent campaigning tool; as Glasgow tries to find its way back to the fully integrated transport system it once almost had, and which it needs and deserves today, more than ever.