THE excitement is immense, as crowds gather for this week’s Play, Pie And Pint lunchtime show. The play is directed by comedy legend Andy Gray, and features superstar Elaine C. Smith. The writer is Lesley Hart, a favourite Oran Mor actress now trying her hand at playwriting.
Saint One - Oran Mor, Glasgow
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When it comes to the play though, it’s difficult to know where to start disentangling its vivid but busy layers of bright post-modern comedy. The scene is a fish and chip shop in Stonehaven, famous for inventing the deep-fried Mars Bar. The problem is it has been swept away by a tsunami, and is now floating in thick mist on the North Sea, while its two passengers – an irritable ex-journalist called Walter (Ewan Donald), and the seriously dazed Geraldine, played with great skill and humour by Elaine C. Smith – struggle to sustain conversation, due to Geraldine’s rapid alternations between a doting conviction Walter’s really her late daughter Anne, and a belief she is Billy Connolly, the favourite entertainer of the family she lost.
The play’s structural problem is that this opening phase of mutual non-comprehension is too long, with poor Geraldine emoting through a veil of brown sauce splattered all over her face, so audience members without a detailed knowledge of Billy Connolly are at a serious disadvantage. Things improve, though, about 30 minutes in, when a sprightly Helen Mackay emerges from a cupboard as dynamic teenage chip-shop assistant Kelly. A kind of junior goddess of Stonehaven wit and wisdom, she has a life to get back to, in the town whose first five letters say “St One”; and she’s just about equal to the task of persuading Walter and Geraldine they also have reasons to pick up a giant fish-slice, and start paddling for home.