Arts Review: The Worst of Scottee

Director: Chris Goode, 31st October, The Arches

Scottee is a fascinating figure in his own right. Promotional pictures for the performer are often bright and glamorous, his piercing eyes looking at you while wearing something exuberant and caked in make up.

Which makes the promo for The Worst of Scottee all the more intriguing. On the Glasgay! festival’s website, a black and white image of Scottee crying black tears casts a shadow over the show’s description. We are promised by the end of it we will have reasons to no longer like him.

The show itself is a glorified confessional. Scottee sits inside a photobooth, sideways to the audience, with a live camera feed on the outside so we can see his face looking at the booth’s camera. He begins by singing ‘Cry Me a River’ (not the Timberlake one), while black tears squirt from his thick rimmed glasses. As the song becomes more dramatic, so too do the frequency of the tears. It’s messy. It’s funny. We laugh.

Casually, he begins to talk to the camera in the booth about the time he told people that the girl he dated in his teens committed suicide when she hadn’t. His conversational tone makes it akin to one of your friends telling you a silly story – in that sort of situation, it’s okay to find it amusing. Then, he speaks of stealing money. Next, lying about having AIDS. Finally, that he was accused of rape.

Between each confession, we see short videos from people Scottee knew in his life, reminiscing about what it was like to have him around. They tell their tales with different emotions, but all of them appear confused by him, and wonder about his motives.

A musical piece introduces each section, and the jokes keep coming with every confession. It’s funny. We don’t laugh anymore. By the end, people are sobbing, tutting, shaking their heads.

We have our reasons to dislike Scottee now, but to do so is missing the point. Leaving the performance with my eyes fixed on my shoes, remembering the context of this show within the Glasgay! festival, I feel more naive about the world than ever, and know I am blessed that I do not have similar reasons to dislike me.

[Emma Ainley-Walker]

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