Review:’Role Shift’,Oran Mor, Glasgow

IMG_3609i Robert Softley Gayle, Louise McCarthy.jpg

Phwooarrghh, eh? Robert Softley-Gale and Louise McCarthy

Will they? Won’t they? They probably will, you know. Sex comedies are predictable, right? A melee of melons; a bumper bag of buns, bums and orifices, throbbing with single innuendo, Freudian references and heart-warming denouements, leaving the audience cackling and sated.

Not so Lesley Hart’s brilliant, demented play for PPP, which will rock the Gaiety at Ayr next week. It’s meta as anything, with references to Hart’s last starring role in a play, the wonderful David Leddy-penned International Waters; Weegie takes on Shakespeare,a memento mori in the lubricious form of Prince’s Kiss and a character interloper- in this instance, the BSL interpreter Carrie (Natalie McDonald).And, this being a Birds of Paradise co-production, directed by the wonderful Garry Robson, it is pure filth.

Ally (a most mischievous Robert Softley-Gale) is hanging out in the casino of a cruise ship coming on to all the Italian men. He’s met his match in Bernie (Louise McCarthy) who is not unlike Jessica Rabbit if she came from Glasgow, all Monroe hips and dirty quips.

It’s ten tequilas later, and the two are, of course, all over each other- despite Ally being gay, and Bernie reminding him of his mother. But it’s here the plot twists, then twists again. Carrie, as prudish, mumsie narrator, wants to mix up the cocktails a little. The pair swap bodies. But not after some sweet meditations on labelling, what motivates people, the role of disability, and the role of audience itself in watching a performance. The audience, and Carrie, are told to fuck off by both Ally and Bernie. Spoiler- nobody does.

This is all a frame from which to hang a moving story about agency in your own life, frailty and loneliness. “I’m not your fucking court jester,” fumes Ally, or possibly Softley-Gale. “I’m not just a pair of tits”, growls Bernie, or rather McCarthy. “And what about me?” probes Carrie, or perhaps McDonald.”What am I here for?” Some baggage after all is heavy, let alone the labels we carry around for ever, self-imposed or by others. You can go on holiday, but you can’t escape your self.

(Lorna Irvine)

IMG_3598i Robert Softly Gayle, Natalie Macdonald, Louise  McCarthy

Robert Softley-Gale and Louise McCarthy up to shenanigans, with Natalie McDonald

Photos by Leslie Black.

At Oran Mor until Saturday, 21st May.

At Ayr Gaiety, 23rd -28th May.







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