Monday, 20 February 2012

Double Nugget


Tron Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars
“Married?” says one character in the first of two darker-than-you-think 
plays by Johnny McKnight for his and Julie Brown’s Random Accomplice 
company. “It’s not ideal, but neither is being single.” It’s such 
bittersweet truisms that fuel Mary Massacre, in which two very 
different women hitch a ride on an emotional rollercoaster to become 
unwitting adversaries turned allies. In the second half, Seven Year 
Itch takes office politics to the extreme in a world where the voice of 
God sounds like Dolly Parton, and top secret memos aren’t the only 
things that get shredded.

Both pieces start off with McKnight’s trademark high-camp accentuated 
by Lisa Sangster’s inventively lush sets. The sparkly letters that 
spell out the word ‘FAIR’ in Mary Massacre might easily be appended by 
a question mark, as married lush Jenny and single girl Leyla dovetail 
monologues that sound straight off Jeremy Kyle but end up more a Roald 
Dahl style tale of the unexpected.

The lime-green open-plan office suite that hosts Seven Year Itch 
becomes the backdrop to a multi-layered forensic investigation of an 
everyday murder dressed up by its narrators to map out a life and death 
less ordinary. What is already a post-modern sit-com takes a 
psycho-sexual turn to resemble some of Dennis Cooper’s more grisly true 
life yarns.

Brown’s production plays on the polarities of each of McKnight’s 
troubled souls in what is effectively a pair of contemporary revenge 
comedies. There’s an over-riding archness in all the performances, with 
Julie Wilson-Nimmo and Mary Gapinski in Mary Massacre and Brown herself 
alongside Martin McCormick in Seven Year Itch pointing up the 
double-bluffing grotesquery of a candy-floss world turned bad.

The Herald, February 20th 2012

ends

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