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God Bless Liz Lochhead

Oran Mor, Glasgow
3 stars
You know you're a literary legend when you're referenced in the titles
of other writers works. It happened to Alice B. Toklas and Virginia
Woolf, and now, on the eve of a revival of her 1987 play, Mary Queen of
Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, Scotland's Makar receives similar
treatment in Martin McCardie's new play. As you might imagine, this
first of A Play, A Pie and a Pint's autumn season of lunchtime theatre
is as appropriately theatrical as its title implies. Taking as its cue
the reunion of three survivors of a fictional Highland tour of
Lochhead's now classic Scots verse take on Moliere's Tartuffe a quarter
of a century earlier, McCardie proceeds to unwrap a big daft
post-modern in-joke tailor-made for west end thesps that takes in
reality TV, the pecadilloes of arts funding and the ongoing promiscuity
of insecure theatre types both in and out of work.

Andy Gray's past-his-best Danny opts to play Tartuffe with a split
personality in order to cope with the production's shoestring budget
while attempting to stimulate some real drama for the cameras with old
flames Portia and Emma. Sprinkled throughout with gags about everything
from Monarch of the Glen to Jimmy Boyle The Musical, McCardie's play
allows full vent for Gray, Juliet Cadzow and Kate Donnelly to parody
their profession with at times hilarious aplomb.

As back-stage sit-coms go, McCardie and Gray's own production hints at
statements on what we now must call the creative industries, although
the reality is only so much green room gossip and is all the better for
it. One thing, though. Given that Tartuffe actually did open
twenty-five years ago, what actually (+italics)did(-italics) go on?

The Herald, September 6th 2011

ends

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