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Screenplay: Horseplay and dumb movies

An invasion of Glaswegian comics - (from left) Allen Chalmers, Raymond Mearns and Sandy Nelson, who brought them all to Shetland for Screen/Wordplay. Pic. Billy Fox

A BOOK launch followed by an improvised comedy show was a rare way to enjoy a sullen Friday night in Lerwick, writes Jordan Ogg.

Launching The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex at Islesburgh, Screenplay curator and probably the UK’s most recognisable film buff Mark Kermode gave a lecture on why he believes that his beloved medium is being mauled by the rise of the multiplex.

Film buff and Screenplay curator Mark Kermode handing a signed copy of his new book to fan Karen Fraser. Pic. Billy Fox

His premise is twofold: blockbuster cinema is usually stupid, while the audiences that watch it are not. Contemporary cinema has become dominated by dumb movies, he claims, produced by an industry obsessed with chasing billions in profits at the expense of creating intelligent entertainment.

Entertaining and insightful throughout, with plenty of time for audience reaction, it nevertheless seemed a slightly odd concept for a place where there is still no cinema at all. Not yet, at least.

Stand up comedy followed as Unst-based Glasgow exile Sandy Nelson took to the stage for Horseplay, an improv show that revolved around book and film.

He was joined by fellow Glaswegians Raymond Mearns, a regular on the UK comedy circuit, and Allen Chalmers, a comedian and musician. Great hilarity ensued as the trio reacted to audience suggestions during their hour on stage.

Chalmers’ piano playing was superb as he accompanied random scenes, such as a two headed Sean Connery discussing his new film about pretty ponies, and a guessing game where Nelson and Mearns bravely sang the blues from the perspective of tragic literary figures Humbert Hubert and Madame Bovary.

All in all it was a brilliant event, and here’s hoping that more will follow soon.