Paring Off Off
Oran Mor, Glasgow City
Four Star Stars
In Alma Cullen’s new book, her latest for Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint lunchtime initiative, it pays to put your foot in your mouth. The merry dance of Cullen’s plot sweeps through the post-war era, where in a world where dressed-up glamour is good form, rock ‘n’ roll prevails.
However, in the unreconstructed realm of the soccer boardroom, things open up. Here Steven Duffy’s wide-shouldered boss Kenny, with Tom McGovern’s seemingly buttoned-up butcher Murdo, figures out his next move. Sponsorship deals may be on the table, as are meat slabs, but with his new conquest, Kenny is working out the next step while wondering which team one of his star strikers really plays for. Meanwhile, Murdo’s feet are murderous.
In the form of Mimi, Kenny’s ice-cold fiancée and chiropodist extraordinaire, salvation arrives. Not only does she see through the mask of Murdo, but she also knows that Kenny is a cad and will no longer allow him to walk all over her.
The delightfully complex creation of Ken Alexander is imbued with a delightful sense of serious fun that enhances Cullen’s deadly analysis of social and sexual mores in the mid-twentieth century, in a society where those who wished to be equals turned the world of men upside down.
There are also echoes of Crazy Men in this respect: Duffy’s Kenny is a chauvinistic shyster who gets things done on the fly and does not notice how the world around him is changing. The portrait of Murdo as a respectable local businessman by McGovern is delivered with an urban sophistication that suggests something far more interesting. It is, however, the fabulously commanding performance of Gail Watson as Mimi that takes center stage here, with plenty of sassy sass.
Chris Stuart Wilson’s choreography, with everyone involved punctuating each scene change with a wiggle and a shimmy, elevates the mood even more. A sensational tango stylishly leads the way into a three-way dissection of what used to be called the battle of the sexes, in a way that strides into the future.