Tag Archives: A Play A Pie and A Pint

REVIEW: Mack the Knife – Oran Mor, Glasgow

The creation of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s “play with music” The Threepenny Opera is as dramatic as the ground-breaking work itself. In Morag Fullerton’s hands that story becomes Mack The Knife, an Oran Mor mini musical.

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The journey to stage success was rough, actors walking out in droves, a title changing weekly and a producer desirous of a quick summer season money-spinner. It isn’t until the last-minute addition of a signature tune for amoral antihero Macheath, that finally, it all falls into place. Suffused with the same wit as Fullerton’s previous adaptations of stage/screen classics Casablanca and Sunset Boulevard, it has laughter and tears, humour and pathos in spades.

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The quartet of supremely talented actors, double, triple and quadruple parts and provide the musical accompaniment. The only quibble being Angela Darcy’s less than era-authentic vocals, whilst strong and clear, are a tad too cruise ship for 1920’s Berlin.

For all the humour, Fullerton reminds us of the ultimate fate of the participants. While many manage to escape the Nazi gas chambers, Kurt Gerron, actor, singer, director and original Macheath, isn’t so lucky, coerced into directing a Nazi propaganda film, when he outlives his usefulness his captors transport him to the ultimate death camp, forced to sing his signature song as he is marched to his death at Auschwitz.

Like so many of Fullarton’s works, one can only hope it has a life long after its week at Oran Mor.

Images: Leslie Black

REVIEW: Sunset Boulevard – Oran Mor, Glasgow

Where else could you possibly get to see Gloria Swanson, Billy Wilder, Cecil B. DeMille and William Holden on a cold, wet summer afternoon? Only at Oran Mor and only as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint.

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Morag Fullerton’s adaptation of Sunset Boulevard is part pastiche, part parody but entirely perfect re-production of the Billy Wilder classic movie. Condensed to an hour, it loses none of the tale’s darkness nor its humour and the clever framing device in which the action takes place is simply genius.

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Knockout performances from the quartet of actors, John Kielty, Juliet Cadzow, Frances Thorburn and Mark McConnell make this an unmissable theatrical experience.  Hopefully this little cracker will have a life beyond lunchtime theatre just as Morag Fullerton’s previous classic movie adaptation Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut did.

Images © Leslie Black

REVIEW: The Great Train Race – Oran Mor, Glasgow

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This review was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews

Writer: Robert Dawson Scott

Director: Rob Jones

The Public Reviews Rating: ★★★★★

Robert Dawson Scott has spent the last 25 years as a stalwart of the Scottish arts scene: as  journalist; TV producer; founder of the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS); critic and now playwright. The Great Train Race, his first play, produced here for Òran Mór’s Autumn/Winter season, is an ebullient caper based upon the real-life rivalry between the two great north-south rail companies, Caledonian and North British.

It’s 1895 and the battle is on to be the fastest thing on rails between London and Aberdeen. On one side North British, travelling the east coast; with a shorter route, flatter terrain and bigger trains, and on the other Caledonian, travelling the west; with a longer route, undulating hills, but the fastest engines and an even faster attitude on how to win the race.

Dawson Scott’s fact-filled romp manages to be both highly informative as well as hugely entertaining; large on facts but even larger on laughs. It plays well to this west of Scotland audience’s rivalry with its east coast neighbours, so well in fact, that it took no prompting to elicit pantomime boos at the mere mention of the word Edinburgh. The success of the piece though, isn’t solely due the playwright’s fine ear for comedy and knowledge of his audience, but the skill of this hugely accomplished cast.

Joyce Falconer bears the weight of conveying the historical detail of the play, playing as she does the Kinnaber signal box (yes, you read that correctly) and does so with great charm. The script also allows Falconer to showcase her fine skill at storytelling in the Scots tongue. As mild-mannered, North British company man and Cammie’s son, Grant O’Rourke is utterly charming and as west coast engineer Cammie and also Norrie’s wife, Iain Robertson, one of Scotland’s finest dramatic actors, gets to demonstrate his sharply-honed comedy skills. The chemistry and camaraderie between the two actors is a real treat to watch.

The whole piece from writing to performance is shot through with an energy and exuberance that makes for an utterly joyous, escapist afternoon at the theatre. There are genuine belly laughs throughout and a history lesson there too for those who like to learn something new. Thoroughly recommended, catch it if you can.

Touring to the Lemon Tree, Aberdeen from 24th to 28th September

REVIEW: Oran Mor Summer Panto Alice in Poundland

Another trip to Oran Mor and this time it’s the summer pantomime Alice in Poundland.

Alice’s mum is boracic, and she is wandering the aisles of Poundland looking for summer treats. Alice reaches out to grasp a white rabbit keyring and before she knows it she is on the golden escalator to Plunderland – A parallel universe where no one pays 50 pence in the pound tax, and where everything costs the same – a million – but you don’t have to pay for it if you are rich. Travel with Alice and meet Milliedum, Milliedee, The King of Clubs, The Queen of Diamonds, The Fat Cat, The Mad Banker and all your other favourite characters you love to hate.

Featuring Dave Anderson, Juliet Cadzow, George Drennan and Catriona Grozier.

There isn’t a lot to say about this except that it is absolutely, hysterically, mascara running down your face funny and the humour so specific to this Glasgow audience that it didn’t fail to hit the target. Run as fast as you can to get a ticket before it ends on Saturday.

 

NEWS: Critics Circle – A Play A Pie and a Pint Oran Mor

Just back from London and after a hectic morning I sat down to the chore of trawling through the day’s emails and instead of the usual guff there was a little gem from Oran Mor. A few weeks ago I submitted a (very) concise 100 word review (try it!) of the glorious Private Lives and today I found out I’d won the Critics Circle competition for the review. Woo hoo! So I’m off, with a spring in my step, to claim my prize on Monday when I go to see their summer panto Alice in Poundland.

REVIEW: Noel Coward’s Private Lives – A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Oran Mor, Glasgow

I’m sure you’ve probably gathered that I go to the theatre a lot – sometimes 3-4 times a week for a combination of work and pleasure. How I’ve managed to miss or ignore Oran Mor’s A Play A Pie And A Pint until now, I just don’t know. The lure of food is never a bad thing in my book but the lure of food, alcohol (or not if you choose) and Noel Coward is just about downright irresistible. And so it proved as I trotted off to see this, not quite knowing what I was letting myself in for. Now the gathered (and obviously well-versed in the routine) hoards around Oran Mor were beating a tactical path to the rear of the bar to queue to snaffle either the best seats or the best pies – I’m not sure which. After doing the old jacket on one chair, bag on another routine to nab a prime view amongst the unreserved seating I went to obtain my promised pie and pint and very fine they were too.

The biggest surprise of the day wasn’t the jam-packed theatre space, the fine pies or the sheer amazement at the fact that they managed to condense Noel Coward’s 1930 masterpiece into an hour, but the sheer quality of the acting on show. Each member of the cast fizzed and sparkled throughout the whole of this utterly charming and truly delectable story. Selina Boyack, James Mackenzie, Jennifer Hainey and Richard Conlon deserve every plaudit thrown their way. They portrayed the sizzling chemistry, high comedy and moments of still shocking (even after 82 years) amorality of the piece perfectly.

Get a ticket to this quick – I urge you – runs until Saturday details here.