Theatre review: Small World

Jimmy Chisholm as Max, a deposed royal, and Daniel Cahill as his son Pauli
Jimmy Chisholm as Max, a deposed royal, and Daniel Cahill as his son Pauli
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The small world of the title is a run-down flat off Glasgow’s Dumbarton Road, in Sean Hardie’s latest comedy for A Play, A Pie, And A Pint. In it, reside King Max of Octavia – deposed as a baby, but still full of kingly mannerisms and pretensions – and his long-suffering son Crown Prince Pauli, a suave Glasgow youth who tries to give the impression of enjoying a successful online career as an international financier, while in fact working as kitchen porter in a Partick kebab joint.

Oran Mor, Glasgow ***

The question hovering around the drama is whether they should try to go back, to a country Pauli has never even seen; knowing that in order to do so, Max would have to give up his kingly aspirations, and accept a humble state-pensioned retirement.

In the main, though, the play seems designed to provide a memorable star vehicle for Jimmy Chisholm, who plays Max with a memorable mixture of old-regime melancholy, hypochondriac guile and sheer devilment; there is a genuinely hilarious sequence in which, with the help of a battered family tree on the wall, Max tries to talk Pauli through all their bonkers antecedents, with names like Vaclav the Unhinged and Ivan the Inexcusable.

Daniel Cahill, though, also makes a fine Crown Prince Pauli, fond of his old dad but not quite defeated by him; and the result is a gentle 55 minutes of lightweight comedy that finally stays in its own small world, and takes us hardly anywhere at all.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Final performance today.