Theatre review: Auntie Agatha Comes To Tea, Glasgow

Oran Mor
Oran Mor
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IT’S just about possible to imagine an entertaining 15-minute sketch based on the idea of a Sopranos-style family of gangsters based in Aberdeen, who are trying to bump off their old auntie in order to grab her inheritance, and save the failing family business.

Auntie Agatha Comes To Tea - Oran Mor, Glasgow

* *

George Milne’s new lunchtime show for the current Play, Pie and Pint season makes it pretty clear, though, that it takes more than that single thought to flesh out a play, even a short one.

The result is an Oran Mor lunchtime of rare tedium, full of laboured comedy that depends for its effect on our acceptance of a whole range of stereotypes about crime, old ladies and Aberdeen itself.

John Bett’s production features an impressive cast, with Jimmy Chisholm and Andy Byatt as the middle-aged brothers locked in conflict over whether topping Auntie Agatha is a reasonable move, and Kay Gallie as Agatha, who of course turns out to be sharper than both of her nephews put together. Chisholm, in particular, conveys a memorable combination of dainty domestic fussiness and ruthless criminal intent.

Once the audience has got that single joke, though, there’s little else to amuse us over a long 50 minutes, apart from the odd inspired moment of comic business from a cast who could offer so much more, given better material.

Seen on 17.03.14