Theatre review: Madame George by Keir McAllister, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Edinburgh

An unassuming but very smart play
An unassuming but very smart play
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In dressing gown and pyjamas, Madame George isn’t the most glamorous of psychic mediums.

Madame George by Keir McAllister, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose (Venue 24) * * *

She operates out of her front room, the same room her late mother practised her own psychic clinic from for many years, and her elderly neighbour Mister Doyle attends three times a week to commune with his departed wife Brenda.

Even though, as we witness while Madame George appears to be channelling Brenda’s spirit, all his wife wants to do is harangue him about eating his Marks & Spencer meal deal profiteroles on the bus.

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Written by Scottish comedian and writer of the hit The Bench Keir McAllister, Madame George is a light and homespun kitchen sink comedy with a decidedly Scottish flavour, until it takes a turn for the dark when a young woman appears with a request for a reading which masks a deep and heartfelt vendetta.

With a neat twist in the tale which locks the power dynamics of the piece into place, this is an unassuming but very smart play which explores the hinterlands of delusion to find the point at which selfish lies become necessary defence against the ills of the world.

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Directed by Jen McGregor, the piece makes a feature of three Scottish actors – Paul Sneddon, Jojo Sutherland and Jay Lafferty – whose considerable talents are usually also found on the stand-up comedy stage.

Until 26 August.