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Yer Granny

King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars


Douglas
Maxwell’s scurrilous West Coast of Scotland version of Argentinian writer
Roberto Cossa’s piece of comic outrage, La Nona, could have been tailor-made for
popular fun palaces like the King’s. There’s something about the 1970s setting,
the Glam Rock pre-show music and the even louder wallpaper of designer Colin
Richmond’s garish living room set in Graham McLaren’s National Theatre of
Scotland production that reeks of an unreconstructed music hall turn writ large,
loud and at times very dirty indeed.

Yet there’s revolutionary intent too in
this tale of a small town chip shop owning family caught in the midst of the pre
Thatcher recession and up against a shiny new burger bar as the Queen’s 1977
Silver Jubilee looks set to tame the masses. Jonathan Watson’s patriarch Cammy
even riffs on an imaginary conversation with HRH in-between defending his couch
potato would-be genius brother Charlie to his soon to be emancipated wife Marie.
Daughter Marissa, meanwhile, turns her prim Aunt Angela into an accidental hit
woman as all the while the over-riding presence of the play’s eponymous Granny
devours everything in sight.

All of which looks and sounds as if Shameless or
Mrs Brown’s Boys had been hi-jacked by Dario Fo and given a right good seeing
to. Playing to a packed house, Gregor Fisher as Granny lumbers guilelessly and
grotesquely around the stage like a constipated rhino on heat in McLaren’s
audacious and explosive production. Barbara Rafferty is a blast as a pilled-up
and increasingly manic Aunt Angela, with Brian Pettifer’s crumbling but
perennially randy octogenarian Donnie Francisco even more so in a piece of
serious fun that looks at extreme reactions in the face of all encroaching
greed.

The Herald, May 28th 2015
ends



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