TONY Black, one of Scotland's best-known crime writers, was today celebrating a new chapter in his career.


His bittersweet revenge tragedy, The Ringer, has been turned into the world's first Tartan Noir play.

It will take the stage at Ayr's Gaiety Theatre over two nights next month (Feb), and there's the possibility of a longer tour after that.

The stage play will feature actors Evelyn Adams and Chris Taylor.

Tony, 42, has seen his novels be nominated for several crime awards, and one of them, Long Time Dead, is currently being adapted for the screen by top Scottish director Richard Jobson.

He is delighted that The Ringer has found a new life on the stage.

"I did a serialisation of a novel for a paper in Ayrshire and Chris appeared in the photograph that accompanied the serialisation," he said yesterday.

"Chris does a lot of work at the Gaiety and has also appeared in programmes like Still Game.

"Right from the start he began reading my work and loved it, and felt it would be great to get it on the stage.

"That was three years ago.

"We never had the time to do anything about it, but finally we did, and I couldn't be happier."

Tony usually sets his crime novels in Edinburgh but for The Ringer he shifted the action west.

"I grew up in Ayr and always wanted to see the town in my work and although most of the action is in Glasgow, The Ringer has a few nods to the Auld Toun," said Black.

"It's a known spot for holidaymakers but Ayr has matured a lot over the years and The Gaiety jumped at the chance to be the first theatre we know of to stage a Tartan Noir play."

The Ringer's plot centres on a local wide-boy who falls for a French woman.

After they raid a local gangster's safe things start to go the opposite way and past misdeeds prove impossible to outrun.

"There's a betting scam on at the Gold Cup and when crime and money come together it's never pretty," said Chris Taylor.

"The writing's great, there's real humour amidst the grit and although you wouldn't want to be friends with any of the characters they're impossible to ignore."

Tony said the rehearsals were going really well.

"We've got an incredible cast and the stage setting looks great as well," he said yesterday.

"It's set in the 1980s and we have screens that play familiar clips from that decade, including Margaret Thatcher and Harry Enfield's character, Loadsmoney."

* Gaiety Theatre, Ayr, Feb 11 and 12, 7.30pm. Tickets £14 (£12.50).

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