Theatre review: Face – Isobel, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Face - Isobel
Face - Isobel
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SHE’S a well-to-do Glasgow West End lady, is Isobel; and she looks quite at home in the front row at Oran Mor, where we first spot her, loudly asking when the heck the play is going to start.

Face – Isobel | Rating: **** | Oran Mor, Glasgow

The feisty attitude is typical too; for at 60, and armed with her inheritance from her recently-dead mother, Isobel is a woman in full flight from the conventional, well-intentioned middle class life embraced by her twin sister Morag - a rebellion which involves leaving her tedious husband for a younger lover, pouring a lifetime’s worth of pent-up scorn on obedient culture-vultures who pretend to value art-forms like theatre, and embracing a definition of freedom based on unapologetic selfishness, which has won her a successful column in the Daily Mail.

In Janette Foggo’s magnificent performance of Peter Arnott’s new monologue, though, Isobel is far less dislikeable than she sounds; partly because the kind of over-respectable background she comes from is all too recognisable, and ripe for rebellion, and partly because of the decades of profound pain it caused her, which her new can-do attitude can barely disguise. Next week, we hear from Morag, the twin sister who’s already been glimpsed, back in 2014, in Perth Theatre’s pub evening of Cross Country Plays. For now, though, it’s the new, unstoppable Isobel who’s in full, glamorous possession of the Play, Pie And Pint stage; and plotting, among other things, to use her new-found wealth to change forever the face that she and her twin sister share, and which she now wants rid of, for good.

• Until 13 February

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