The new online production of Smile, the play which went behind the touchline traumas of Dundee United legend Jim McLean, has punted the ball out of the park with ticket numbers, after just two days on sale.
Enough of the football puns. Much of the success of Phillip Differ’s portrait of the footballing icon was the fact that it looked at the man rather than the manager.
Its success just before lockdown, in February 2020 as part of the Rep’s 80th anniversary season, was reason enough to bring it back with the original production team, but restaged and shot specifically for film.
There will be performances of Smile from April 16 to May 16, and even though it’s an online production, tickets are not limitless. There will be evening showings at 7.30pm and some matinees at 2.30pm, but Rep Studios can only sell the equivalent of the theatre’s 455-seat auditorium for each.
“We are delighted with the online ticket sales for Smile so far,” says Martin Gray, Interim Head of Marketing and Communications at Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, “but tickets are just as limited as a live performance.”
With an online performance, ticket buyers are competing with fans from around the world who couldn’t be in Dundee to see Smile in person last year.
As Barrie Hunter, whose portrayal of Jim McLean received unanimous praise says, the filmed performance is something that was worked on for several weeks before being filmed over two days, his performance having extra poignance now that Jim McLean passed away on December 26th last year.
“There were a few moments in rehearsal when I couldn’t help myself and broke down,” he says. “We’re all delighted to get the chance to present this to the public – and a much wider public than ever before.”
Rep Studios is a new digital platform that will showcase theatre, dance, and music. As ever it will have Dundee’s distinct culture front and centre but it will have a greater opportunity to share that with the world.
It has managed to employ 84 Scottish based freelancers over months and builds on last year’s digital output which employed 55 freelance artists and creatives.
Apart from Smile, the first season will also offer the award-winning musical Islander, two digital premieres from Scottish Dance Theatre, music events, and a new mini-festival, This is For You Dundee.
Tickets for Smile are priced from £7.50 and available at www.dundeerep.co.uk/whats-on/smile