Friday, September 28, 2012

Because I have a bit of a horror of anything in Scots, I was going to give The Guid Sisters at the Lyceum a wide berth. But then I relented. Because I discovered Michel Tremblay wrote the original. The one other play of his that I know is one I love. Because a cast boasting 15 of Scotland's brilliantest women doesn't come along every day. Because a preview ticket was £7.50 and I thought I should force myself to be broad-minded.

And I'm glad I did.

The other play I know of his, Solemn Mass For A Full Moon In Summer, is beautiful but, it would be fair to say, mournful. It does however feature a lovely lovely use of language.

This play boasted a much more riotously delightful plot. A woman wins a whole bunch of stamps in a competition which will entitle her to claim items to the value of a million whatevers from the stamp catalogue. She must stick the stamps into the little stampy prize books to claim the big biiiig prizes. And so she invites her assorted women friends, relatives and acquaintances to complete the sticking.

So we have lovely womeny cameraderie, soul bearing, bitching bickering banter and general drivel from a final collection of fifteen assortedly pinafored ladies sat around the over-expanding table. (I did think Joyce was unnecessarily dismissive about the set. I liked it very much.)

But what set this aside from Coronation Street on stampy acid was the occasional strikingly lit aside from a heartfelt downtrodden "see all that I put up with?" soul. And a slightly surreal but none the worse for all that collection of little songy recitationy almost rap-like ensemble deliveries. My favourite of which spoke of bingo.

Where the rest of the piece hopped skipped and dashed along with the occasional soulful interruption, these little stylised asides were a complete delight. Polished perky and delivered with excitable panache. A treat.

For these alone, I would sit through the play again.

For these plus the mournful Amy Winehouse tribute drunken wayward Pierrette, I would buy another preview price ticket.

For these, Pierrette / Amy and the final chorus of (well, I was always going to like this, wasn't I?) the hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raising Burns' A Man's A Man For A' That, I might even be tempted to lash out on a fully priced ticket.

Fabulous fun. Thanks, ladies.


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