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Theatre Eu­logy

Oran Mor, Glas­gow Mary Bren­nan *****

SPEAK­ING ill of the dead re­ally isn’t the done thing – es­pe­cially at the fu­neral, in full view of the cof­fin. But what if the un­palat­able truth is hard to gloss over? Or the sig­nif­i­cant lack of fam­ily mourners speaks vol­umes: Sandy Munro, even in death, just wasn’t some­one they wanted to en­counter.

You could, per­haps, put that dis­tanc­ing down to Sandy’s speech at his daugh­ter’s wed­ding – Oran Mor reg­u­lars might re­mem­ber that ver­i­ta­ble fi­asco from Rob Drum­mond’s ear­lier play, Top Ta­ble (2011). Now Drum­mond has de­cided to bring us up to speed on Sandy’s life since then, by al­low­ing us to wit­ness his fu­neral.

As ever, it falls to Sandy’s big brother Andy (Benny Young) to tidy up af­ter him. The whiff of ca­dav­er­ous melan­choly that Young brings to the role is de­li­ciously grounded in the tra­di­tion of lugubri­ous min­is­ters un­der­pin­ning ir­rev­er­ent com­edy. Not that Sandy wanted a re­li­gious send­off. His farewell video (with Cal­lum Cuth­bert­son repris­ing his 2011 role) is typ­i­cally con­trol­ling, self-jus­ti­fy­ing yet some­how ge­nial. In­deed, from Andy, we gather that Sandy was a walk­ing dis­as­ter who hon­estly didn’t mean to wreck other peo­ple’s hap­pi­ness. In­ci­dent af­ter hap­lessly hi­lar­i­ous in­ci­dent rolls out: if Drum­mond’s writ­ing is mer­ci­lessly funny, Young’s comic tim­ing is pitch per­fect.

And then Anne, Sandy’s es­tranged wife charges in with her own ver­sion of Sandy and his “vor­tex of mis­ery”. Joyce Fal­coner swith­ers mag­nif­i­cently be­tween bale­ful, be­wil­dered, even a lit­tle sor­row­ful as she itemises the ma­nip­u­la­tive be­hav­iour of a man who seem­ingly couldn’t al­low him­self to be happy. More se­crets and rev­e­la­tions pop out of the box, the com­edy – di­rected by David Ov­erend – es­ca­lates with­out los­ing mo­men­tum be­fore the bit­ter-sweet twist in the tale, a moral if you like. Learn from Sandy’s dis­ap­pointed life: em­brace hap­pi­ness when­ever pos­si­ble – and join loudly in the sing-song!

Pre­sented in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Tra­verse Theatre

„ Benny Young (Andy) and Joyce Fal­coner (Anne) in Eu­logy.

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