by Douglas Maxwell based on La Nona by Roberto CCossa.
Tour to 4 July 2015.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 30 May at King’s Theatre Glasgow.
Every home shouldn’t have one, but she’s the sauce of joy in a theatre.
A wholly healthy Glasgow matinee crowd greeted Douglas Maxwell’s Scottish relocation of this 1977 Argentine farce with loud applause and laughter. Though it would be more accurate to say the cheers at first were for the most-recognised cast members, Jonathan Watson’s Cammy receiving an approval rating only outdone – and clearly so – by Gregor Fisher as the nonagenarian who’s achieved her century.
A female Rab C Nesbitt Granny may be, and so well-known has Rab made Gregor that a look over the shoulder, a flick of an arm or a flounce of the grey hair is enough to have stalls and circle erupting. There’s no crisis in theatre-going where this show’s concerned, and it’s not even a compilation musical.
What makes Granny so funny to the audience – expertly expressed in Fisher’s beautifully slow timed reactions, and cat-like tendency to slope off silently to any source of food, stealing both it and the show as others try getting on with the plot – is the character’s single-minded pursuit of a self-satisfying agenda many of us would like to indulge but wouldn’t want to be thought to consider for a moment.
A hundred family dramas go up in smoke as the unmoveable matriarch who has already eaten the family chippy out of business creates chaos around the home. Teenagers may be slackers; Granny’s grown into a force – or absence thereof – of nature.
Director Graham McLaren, who has a more than respectable track-record in Scottish theatre with a range of classics, thoroughly outs himself as a stager of downright popular material. In skewering the family he goes for the groin rather than the neck, as adaptor Douglas Maxwell brazenly puts his artistic credentials at risk.
And the National Theatre Scotland, sporran flung in the air, celebrates the vitality of popular culture. For there’s no doubting the sterling quality surrounding Fisher’s starrier-than-Alpha Centauri turn. Watson’s Cammy, plotting progress with futile vigour against Granny’s predatory prowls, Maureen Beattie, behind Marie’s sternly protective spectacles, and Louise McCarthy’s flamboyantly energetic young Marissa – not to mention designer Colin Richmond’s rampantly bright set – especially contribute to this uproariously vulgar laugh-machine.
Cammy: Jonathan Watson.
Granny: Gregor Fisher.
Aunt Angela: Barbara Rafferty.
Marissa: Louise McCarthy.
Charlie: Paul Riley.
Marie: Maureen Beattie.
Donnie: Brian Pettifer.
Director: Graham McLaren.
Designer/Costume: Colin Richmond.
Lighting: Tim Mitchell.
Sound/Composer: Mark Melville.