Theatre review: Face – Morag, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Janette Foggo stars in both Face plays
Janette Foggo stars in both Face plays
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LAST week, we met Morag’s twin sister Isobel, flashy, flamboyant, and determined, at 60, to start a new life founded not on duty, but on self-centred hedonism and enjoyment; after all, why not?

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

For Morag, though, those attitudes seem alien - as alien as the new face Isobel wants to buy through cosmetic surgery, wiping out any remaining resemblance between them. It’s not that Morag - conjured up by Janette Foggo in a performance possibly even more subtle and brilliant than last week’s Isobel - is inspired by a spirit of loving devotion to the community; she hates people, and is often seized by entertaining fits of rage against the whole disgusting human race.

It’s simply that as a lifelong science teacher - sensibly dressed in beige cardigan - Morag sees no need for the kind of life Isobel now leads; she doesn’t need other people, doesn’t fear the idea of “lonely old age”, and wonders movingly, towards the end, whether human beings ever really communicate at all.

At one level, there’s an implied unflattering portrait of Scotland in this terrific new double monologue by Peter Arnott; a place where a need for respectability runs deep, but real love for humanity is in short supply, and easily swept away by the temptations of wealth and sex. Yet this solo play is also an unforgettable portrait of an individual woman; far too fiercely intelligent to deny her status as an elderly, unloved figure, but bold enough to feel that that status does not define her worth, and that in the end - even with the face her sister has rejected - being Morag is really quite all right, and not a tragedy at all.

• Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Saturday

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