One of the best kept secrets on radio, Fags, Mags and Bags, is currently shopping for laughs at the Fringe.
While many shows have made the move from radio to TV, for some reason, the quiet genius that is Fags, Mags and Bags has somehow not made the transfer.
Fags, Mags and Bags is a Radio 4 comedy series written and performed by Sanjeev Kohli and Donald McLeary, set in a shop of the same name. The show follows the lives of owner Ramesh Majhu, his best friend and assistant, Dave Legg, as well as Ramesh’s sons Alok and Sanjay, who run the convenience store in the Glasgow suburb Lenzie.
This specially extended show sees Ramesh, on the 30th anniversary of the opening of his shop, have a health scare. With Alok and Sanjay unwilling to take over, Ramesh fears he will have to sell out to the big impersonal convenience store chain Bojo Mojos.
If you know the radio series, then you’ll love the live show. Everything you’d expect to be there is there, from Ramesh’s ‘What, what, what?’ to the over-the-top insults thrown out by Omar Raza as Sanjay. These get more and more over the top as the show progresses, and you can’t help but wonder what’s coming next.
As with the radio series, there’s popular cultural references being thrown out left, right and centre (see how many you can spot), and the legendary Wall of Crisps will bring laughs, as the cast work their way through the various brands and flavours.
As with all good drama, and comedy, the heart of the story is about the relationships, and especially that between Ramesh and Dave. Kohli and McLeary, in the main roles, bring their real life friendship to the parts, and there’s an evident warmth between then that comes across strongly. As every, family is at the heart of Fags, Mags and Bags – the relationship Ramesh has with is sons is heartwarming and funny in equal measure.
There other cast members are, as ever, top notch, as Susheel Kumar plays it cool as Alok, with his determination to establish a political career, and Julie Wilson Nimmo – Balamory’s Miss Hoolie – doubles up as regular customer Lovely Sue, and her portrayal of the budding local politician is a total contrast. Michael Redmond, as Bishop Briggs, brings an almost anarchic feel to the show, with some brilliant jokes and a performance that had the audience in stitches.
If you know the radio show, you’re going to love it. If you’re looking for a good laugh, and appreciate a bit of Glaswegian humour, then this is the show for you.