Theatre Tours International Ltd
Theatre Tours International Ltd
What's On NOW!
Singing, I'm No A Billy, He's A Tim
  • Written by Des Dillon
  • Directed by Stephen Cafferty
  • With Scott Kyle, Colin Little and Alex Donald
  • WINNER: The Stage Award Best Actor 2010 - (Scott Kyle)
  • A phenomenon in Scotland where it has sold out five nationwide tours and, recently, a sensation at the Assembly Rooms during the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe and then toured through the United Kingdom & Eire through 2011 and 2012.

"I'm no a Billy, He's a Tim..." is an hilarious yet potent award winning comedy...

Israeli vs Palestinian, Catholic vs Protestant, Celtic vs Rangers... when tribal factions clash can reason ever prevail?
Two hate filled rival football fans locked up in the same prison cell verbally lacerate each other while their teams assemble for the derby in the stadium nearby.

In this crucible, Billy and Tim vent all their fears, bigotry, paranoia, misconceptions and, most significantly, the mutual loathing that has shaped their whole lives. The lads' collision is not just a matter of football rivalry, but a very serious clash of cultures with all the deep seated bigotry that that entails. Face to face with the object of their hatred, do they choose to destroy each other or to confront their demons and start a dialogue towards some kind of ceasefire?

A potent allegory for peace processes all over the world, Des Dillon's extraordinary, moving and hilarious "I'm No A Billy, He's a Tim" speaks for any divided culture where polarisation is inbred and predjudice governs reason.

When drama is supposed to reflect society, what better arena than the sport that grips society most?

A phenomenon in Scotland where it sold out five huge tours and a sensation at the Assembly Rooms during the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe and winner of The Stage Best Actor award (Scott Kyle), the show toured through the rest of the United Kingdom & Eire through 2011 and 2012.

WINNER: THE STAGE BEST ACTOR AWARD

If theatre exists to give a voice to the complex, unspoken emotions of its audience, then NLP is right on the button. Pulling in those who never otherwise attend the theatre - even in the middle of the fringe - Des Dillon's high-tempo play about a Rangers and a Celtic supporter put in a cell together on the day of Glasgow's old-firm derby does exactly that, as it puts bigotry up on the stage and laughs at it.
While erring on the side of comedy, Scott Kyle as Billy and Colin Little as Tim ensure that this is much more than the extended sketch it could have been. They are exactly the kind of Glasgow lads you'd expect to see sent down for debt-related offences. And they bring out all the complexities of their characters, the bravado, the patter, the foibles and their commonly held beliefs in such innate ideals as family.
Stephen Cafferty's strong, energetic direction does nothing to stop Dillon's often overly simplistic understanding of the problems of bigotry, epitomised in Scottish society by the old-firm rivalry. And Alex Donald's prison warden, Harry, is drawn with an even broader brush. But in that clear simplicity and the comedy within which it is couched, this is as powerful a piece of comedy as any else on the fringe. (Thom Dibdin - The Stage, 2010)

Perhaps comparable to the atmosphere of a big football match, there was an expectant buzz in the venue even before this show began, a sense that something unpredictable and important was about to unfold - and it did. The play's premise is this: on the day of an Old Firm match a staunch Celtic supporter is locked up in a cell with a devoted Rangers fan. The stakes are high for both, for as one of them proclaims, "there is more to football than football". Bigotry, rivalry, pride, and issues surrounding national identity crowd into the small room and are excellently explored by truthful, touching, funny performances and highly coloured writing. Relevant, memorable, and emotive, this show both enlightens and entertains. (Dora Petherbridge - Three Weeks, 2010)

Sectarianism isn't just a problem in Ulster; it's big in Scotland too, as this powerful no-holds-barred comedy reminds us. Rangers - Celtic rivalry is heavily underpinned by deep sectarian attitudes; as one of the characters tells Harry the screw, "There's more to football than football, Harry."
On the day of an Old Firm match, Celtic fan Tim finds himself banged up in the same cell as Billy, who follows Rangers. The fast-paced script takes the pair through their initial hostility, fighting and point-scoring against one-another, to a realisation of some of the things they have in common.
This 85-minute play could easily have been a complacent smug middle class holier-than-thou, let's-all-laugh-at-the stupid-sectarian-bigots artifice. The writer Des Dillon managed to avoid that pitfall.
Dillon's script allowed people to laugh at some of the absurdities of their own attitudes and face the fact that in reaction to events, each of us have our own inner bigotries waiting for an opportunity to come out in all their ugliness.
Dillon also demonstrated that most of us also have our own inner decency and sense of empathy for individuals who face problems with which we can relate. Both Billy and Tim had small children and each of them was able to offer sympathy for the screw Harry and prayers for his dangerously ill grandson.
This message isn't at all heavy-handed. The interaction between the cast members is sharp and above all that, the script it is very, very funny. You might want to think twice about bring your maiden aunt along, though. She might find some of the language offensive. (Counter Culture, 2010)

The animosity between some fans of Glasgow football teams, Rangers and Celtic, goes far beyond normal sporting rivalry. Des Dillon's perceptive play tackles sectarianism head-on, sometimes predictably but always entertainingly. Billy and Tim are locked together in a police cell on the day of an old firm match. Their extreme animosity towards each other is challenged as Harry, their jailer, raises an issue that might just be more important than football.
Excellent performances from Colin Little and Scott Kyle and Dillon's full-on humour mitigate the less subtle aspects of the play. It may seem specific in content but Dillon's themes are universal. As Billy and Tim edge towards some sort of mutual respect, there is cause for hope.
This production has been touring Scotland and bringing in many theatre first timers. Whether the understanding seen on stage can shift entrenched attitudes is another matter. (Keith Paterson - What's On Stage, 2010)

As it happens the Scottish Premier League title went Rangers' way this time, but in a sense it doesn't matter; just ask the families of the young men who regularly get killed in fights for little more than wearing the wrong colours. Sectarianism in the West of Scotland, and its expression via the country's two biggest football teams, is no laughing matter.
And yet what else can you do but laugh in the face of the absurd historical bigotry that each side parrots, all of it long since detached from whatever historical legitimacy it may once have had?
Des Dillon's simple play, in which a Celtic supporter and a Rangers supporter find themselves in a police cell during the course of an Old Firm derby, certainly gets a good few laughs out of the situation. That the former really is called Tim and the latter Billy is just the beginning. As well as Dillon's script, new gags are being inserted daily to keep up with events. But just to point up the pettiness of their squabbles, Dillon contrasts these two with the preoccupations of their jailer, who is waiting to hear the outcome of the surgery that his grandson is about to undergo.
Of course the two men, both fathers of young families, struggling to make their way in working-class Glasgow where jobs are scarce and pay is poor, have far more in common than they have apart. And of course in the end, after an initial bout of fighting and some confessions, not least that their own family trees are not quite as pure-bred as their rhetoric would suggest, they discover that truth.
Scott Kyle and Colin Little strut their stuff with a gallus charm in Stephen Cafferty's no-frills production. But in a way, the most interesting thing about this production, staged without any public money by NLP Theatre, is the audience. According to the company, 75 per cent of the audience during the present tour have never been to straight theatre before. Looking round a packed hall and listening to their reaction, responding to every well-trodden refrain as if it was newly minted, I could believe it. They were here to support their respective team.But if that's what gets them into a theatre and if, at the end of it, the differences between the two sides seem a little less important, that's a respectable achievement for all concerned. (Joyce McMilllan - The Scotsman, 2009)

It is a measure of the ridiculousness of sectarian expression in Scottish football that, when the lights are flicked on in Billy and Tim's police cell, revealing their respective Rangers and Celtic shirts to mutual howls of anguish, Des Dillion's play scarcely feels contrived thereafter.
Revived by NLP Theatre, this consistently funny yet highly authentic representation of attitudes either side of the Old Firm divide heaps scorn on the idea of 90-minute bigots, with the perceptive but lairy Billy (Scott Kyle) and the less bright but more open Tim (Colin Little) instinctively bickering and chanting their way through every entrenched, historical cliché of "huns" and "Fenian scum", before eventually arguing themselves towards a "ceasefire" and qualified understanding. Locked up during the derby game, they squabble as their jailer, Harry (James Miller), frets about his grandson undergoing a potentially fatal operation.
For Harry, there's no question of football being more important than life and death and it's empathy that ultimately moves these family men from dubious family traditions to periodic reasonableness, even as the TV visible through the cell door inflames their passions. Dillon perceptively extends the grasp of his inquiry beyond sport and religion to specific questions of Scottish culture and Christian identity, yet though the intent is worthy, the tone is rarely so. Any preaching is forestalled by the play's boisterous wit and the sense that this is a solitary, if hopeful reconciliation, with both sides achieving a result in the end. (Jay Richardson - The Scotsman, 2008)

"Two Scottish football bigots discover they have far more in common than they have apart in this no-frills production
As it happens the Scottish Premier League title went Rangers' way this time, but in a sense it doesn't matter; just ask the families of the young men who regularly get killed in fights for little more than wearing the wrong colours. Sectarianism in the West of Scotland, and its expression via the country's two biggest football teams, is no laughing matter.
And yet what else can you do but laugh in the face of the absurd historical bigotry that each side parrots, all of it long since detached from whatever historical legitimacy it may once have had?
Des Dillon's simple play, in which a Celtic supporter and a Rangers supporter find themselves in a police cell during the course of an Old Firm derby, certainly gets a good few laughs out of the situation. That the former really is called Tim and the latter Billy is just the beginning. As well as Dillon's script, new gags are being inserted daily to keep up with events. But just to point up the pettiness of their squabbles, Dillon contrasts these two with the preoccupations of their jailer, who is waiting to hear the outcome of the surgery that his grandson is about to undergo.
Of course the two men, both fathers of young families, struggling to make their way in working-class Glasgow where jobs are scarce and pay is poor, have far more in common than they have apart. And of course in the end, after an initial bout of fighting and some confessions, not least that their own family trees are not quite as pure-bred as their rhetoric would suggest, they discover that truth.
Scott Kyle and Colin Little strut their stuff with a gallus charm in Stephen Cafferty's no-frills production. But in a way, the most interesting thing about this production, staged without any public money by NLP Theatre, is the audience. According to the company, 75 per cent of the audience during the present tour have never been to straight theatre before. Looking round a packed hall and listening to their reaction, responding to every well-trodden refrain as if it was newly minted, I could believe it. They were here to support their respective team.
But if that's what gets them into a theatre and if, at the end of it, the differences between the two sides seem a little less important, that's a respectable achievement for all concerned. (Robert Dawson Scott - The Times, 2009)

MARK FISHER admires Des Dillon's handling of the sectarian divide in this breezy play
WHAT COULD be worse for a Celtic fan than being locked up in a police cell on the day of an Old Firm match? For Tim, in Des Dillon's raucous comedy, there is one thing worse. Not only is he behind bars with the big game approaching and no chance of his wife finding the money to pay his fine, but also he has been banged up in the same cell as Billy, a fervent Rangers supporter.
This being Glasgow, the men's collision is not just a matter of friendly rivalry, but a very serious clash of Catholic and Protestant cultures with all the bigotry that that entails. What they must figure out is whether their shared interest - the desire to watch the game on the warder's TV through a narrow window in the cell door - outweighs their mutual antipathy.
No prizes for guessing they sort things out and come to realise their prejudices are exactly that - ill-informed assumptions that take no account of human complexity. It's hard to imagine a play on the subject of sectarianism making any other point, but there are two reasons Dillon succeeds without seeming too obvious.
The first is he doesn't trivialise or caricature either man's beliefs. The production - by NLP Theatre - is attracting big audiences more familiar with the terraces than the stalls and they are well served by the show's recognition of the ribald chants, jokes and taunts of the football world. Even as Dillon condemns the politics of hate, he seems to celebrate the brute masculine energy of the fans. Friendly rivalry is one thing, he seems to say, songs about being up to the knees in the enemy's blood quite another.
Coupled with this sympathy and understanding of a conflict that is long-standing and heartfelt, however misguided, Dillon has a sharp awareness of what makes an audience laugh. His gags are not sophisticated - often nothing more than an expletive - but they are consistent and plentiful and, delivered by Scott Kyle as Billy (all antsy muscularity) and Colin Little as Tim (more laid back but holding his own) they are played for all they are worth.
The result is a breezy piece of popular theatre that makes its point without hectoring.
Mark Fisher (Hi-Arts, 2009)

WHEN I clapped eyes on the toilet seat on stage I knew the audience was in for a funny ride during the 'I'm No a Billy He's a Tim' show and we weren't disappointed.
A packed Airdrie Arts Centre theatre were treated to, Coatbridge's own, Des Dillon's tale about Celtic fan Tim (played by Colin Little) and Rangers fan Billy (Scott Kyle) spending the afternoon of an Old Firm game in a jail cell together.
The two leads are joined by James Miller, playing prison guard Harry, in a superb three man cast. All of the proceedings also played out on a small stage with minimum props so all three men deserve immense credit for holding attention throughout.
The authenticity of the two fans was spot on, with both representing each side of the footballing and religious side of the Old Firm extremely well, from their strips to their singing.
Kyle goes for a louder, in your face style as Billy and he would have no problem being heard in a crowd. He is very funny, though, and shows some impressive acting chops during some late emotional moments.
Little plays off him very well as Tim. He huffs and mutters his way through the early stages, before Billy's arrival inspires his frustration.
The two men share some superb scenes, including a funny pull-apart 'brawl' and the rather surreal sight of each one singing the other club's sectarian songs.
It must be said that the dialogue, whilst very realistic, is not for the faint-hearted. Every swear word imaginable is in there and some of the religious and footballing references may go over the heads of some.
Miller deserves great props for his performance. Prison guard Harry is the heart of the show and his emotional breakdowns really make you feel for him. His family tragedy also helps to show Billy and Tim, and the audience, that there's more important things in life than football.
The show takes in sectarianism, racism, religion, family splits and Donald Finlay impressions and all of this helps to educate as well as entertain. The two digs at Airdrie United's expense were, however, a little below the belt.
The ending is slightly predictable and both men exchanging strips felt a little unrealistic. This is a minor quibble, though, and Little and Kyle's collective rendition of the song 'Caledonia' got the foot tapping.
'I'm No a Billy He's a Tim' was a great night's entertainment and the high level of audience participation showed how into things the crowd were.
You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy it and everyone involved deserves great praise. Its funny, touching, debate-raising stuff with three actors on top form and, with a bit of luck, may help to defuse the tension on future Old Firm match days... or maybe not. (Ian Bunting - Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, 2009)

Punters' Reviews: Edinburgh 2009

Sandra Shepherd, Audience members SECC
Excellent night out, a great chance to laugh at ourselves. There`s hope for us yet. Keep up the good work.

Paula Herrity, Audience members SECC
Very interesting & proves it doesn`t matter what team or religion a person is as we are all the same.

K Donnelly, Audience members SECC
Brilliant - well presented, thought out and confronted sectarianism in a way that people understand

Mrs Alison M Semple, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Different, funny approach to sectarianism.

McGowans, Audience members SECC
Excellent! passionate, thought provoking, funny, poignant. The acting was just outstanding

Caroline Renehan, Audience member Eastwood Park Theatre
Absolutely brilliant, actors were superb, great story, well written with tremendous humour

J. Brock, Audience member Theatre Royal Dumfries
Best play I`ve seen in years.

Andrew McNeilly, Audience member Eastwood Park Theatre
Absolutely first class production, extremely funny a great play with fantastically funny and serious acting.

Michaela Wright, Audience member Paisley Arts Centre
Very typical of the mentality of some of the supporters from both sides.

Caroline Renehan, Audience member Eastwood Park Theatre
Absolutely brilliant, actors were superb, great story, well written with tremendous humour

Ian, Audience member Eastwood Park Theatre
A laugh a minute, with a serious issue in the west of Scotland.

David Black, Audience member Citizens Theatre
The show was fantastic, definitley in the top three shows I`ve seen in 5 years working at the Citizens (and I see a hell of a lot of shows!) well done on a great production and hope to see more in the future

Billy Sloan, Sunday Mail, Audience member Citizens Theatre
First Class!!

Julie Carson, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Fantastic production, the cast were excellent, it had everything, very very funny and some food for thought.

Garry Stewart, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Absolutely Superb!!

John, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Best piece of theatre I have ever seen!

J Schater, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Good, funny, well acted & excellent script, we came with a school party who thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lorraine Ramsay, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Excellent. from start to finish, true to life, west of Scotland, Fantastic actors.

Paula Carson, Audience member Citizens Theatre
The production of Singin I'm No a Billy He's a Tim was absolutely fantastic. Very entertaining and performed exceptionally well. Well done to all involved.

Katie Martin, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Absolutely brilliant, casting was perfect, acting great, worked really well, was done really effectively for such a small performing space.

Maureen Cairns, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Really well written, directed and the acting wonderful.

R. King, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Absolutely Brilliant, Great acting, the lads will go places, Scott Kyle reminds me of Robert Carlyle.

Suzy, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Honest, true to life, couldn`t have asked for a better performance. Highly believable.

Jo, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Very well produced and acted, I would come to future plays

Jim, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Interesting and thought-provoking. Good way of using humour to show up the issues, and of course the underlining commonality between the protagonists. Very good acting making the most of a minimalist set.

Nicola Wood,Audience member Citizens Theatre
It was excellent! acting, directing and production was top class. Des Dillon has done an excellent job of highlighting serious issues in a hilarious way, well done all!

Ian Gorman, Audience member Citizens Theatre
The realism tinkled my Glasgow shame! The actors all three were excellent! The philosophical analysis was spot on!

Kim Friel, Audience member Citizens Theatre
This was the best belly laugh I`ve had for a long time. Amazing.

R Docherty, Audience member Citizens Theatre
It is a thought provoking drama. Very enjoyable to watch while bringing a few home truths of Glasgow`s Bigotry to light.

Edwa Payne, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Although I am not interested in football, I am able to see the message, this now adays cant be a bad thing

E Wood, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Excellent production. well directed, serious, sensitive issues portrayed in an amusing and sensitive way

Anne & Andy Nicholls, Audience members Citizens Theatre
ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. The acting - first class. The script/story - excellent. Would happily recommend it to anyone. In fact we'll definitely recommend it to people to go and see in September (and we'll be there again too!!!!)

Joe, Audience members Citizens Theatre
Magic! never thought it would be so good. Actors are brill.

Margaret, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Great story, Very well acted. Very true, well done, if only it could happen in real life.

R Carson, Audience members Citizens Theatre
Very funny, True to life and well acted.

Gordon Williamson, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Really Funny, well acted, true to life.

Kirsteen MacGregor, Audience member Citizens Theatre
As a drama student, I was extremely excited to see this production as I feel its so different to anything else that I have seen recently. It really hit home with a number of issues relevant to Scottish culture. I thoroughly enjoyed it - very funny & it was cast perfectly! Very impressed.

Peter Gallacher, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Down to earth show, brilliant!!

Roberta Cochrane, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Both actors are brill, production excellent as well.

Edward Steele, Audience member Citizens Theatre
It was great, the two guys were brilliant actors. It was a funny storyline and very realistic.

Brian Reid, Audience member Citizens Theatre
High energy, funny, enjoyable & good subject manner.

Doreen Burns, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Excellent!

Jamie Scott Gordon, Audience member Citizens Theatre
thought provoking & funny

C Heffiran, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Excellent, very entertaining & funny

Margaret Gorman, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Very good & realistic to life in the West of Scotland

Jo, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Very well produced and acted, I would come to future plays

Liz, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Very intimate, excellent acting, very professional & very funny

Lorraine Johnston, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Fantastic Boys!! I thought it was well acted and directed. The audience reaction was fantastic, also the actors came across as passionate and it was in all well delivered.

John Bauld, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Fantastic, was really true to life.

Katie Duffy, Audience member Citizens Theatre
Excellent - great performances, interesting & challenging, extremely well played!

Brian, Audience member Paisley Arts Centre
Saw the play last night. The audience (full house) all cheered when Tim and Billy changed football tops. Everyone had a great time. actors are first class.
I like the way their personalities, Dim Tim and Brainy Hun, contradicted their views and developed as play progressed. Well done!

Caroline Coll, Audience member Eastwood Park Theatre
Very Entertaining

Andrea Reid, Audience members SECC
I really enjoyed the play. I like that Billy didn`t admit to supporting Celtic and when he said that the country is anti-Christian. The boys were excellent. and the storyline was very true to life

Claire, Audience member SECC
We all thoroughly enjoyed the play and would recommend it to anyone ! Although im not a football fan as such , my husband does support one of the Old Firm and he thought play covered the bigotry and sectarian problem in the West Scotland very well and with great humour !!
Writing a play on such a serious matter I imagine was a bit risky but it has to be said that it was delivered brilliantly and sent out some positive messages.
Lastly I have to mention the 'patter' used throughout the play was absolutely tremendous and had our entire group in stitches most of the night, infact at one stage I thought the woman in front of us might have needed medical assistance !!