Review: ‘Del Gesu’s Viola’, Oran Mor, Glasgow

IMG_3682i Eileen Nicholas Finlay Welsh Peter Kelly.jpg

Eileen Nicholas, Finlay Welsh and Peter Kelly

It starts with sweet music, and ends in dissonance. Somewhere along the way, though, Hector MacMillan’s new play for PPP finds a winning harmony. It’s there in the multi-lingual tics (Italian, Old Scots and English) the funny verbal dexterity and conceptual richness. Semantics and authenticity are the combined themes in this gentle but cynical production, which weaves its way to Ayr Gaiety next week.

The accused, a petulant Scots-Italian (Peter Kelly) has used ambiguous language when selling his viola to a posh buyer, claiming it was a Del Gesu model- Italian, or made in Italy. The net worth becomes the focus of the disgruntled plaintiff (Finlay Welsh) who has stated the man lied about the enormous value.

So begins a massive legal battle, conducted with all the maturity of schoolboys fighting over girls, or bags of crisps.The accused has a petted lip so big you could set your dinner down on it; the plaintiff ranting in a thick Austrian accent.The procurator fiscal (Eileen Nicholas) presides appropriately over the two, as might a school teacher.

It’s perfect PPP fodder in short: witty, loquacious and with relaxed direction from Liz Carruthers at the core. Young musician Elisabeth Flett plays two beautiful pieces which bookend the play. Class divides are broken down, as the scruffy accused man shows he’s more than a match for the posh, slightly pompous viola expert. The fine cast make the most of MacMillan’s stinging dialogue, and it all ends with a great deal of ambiguity- proving sometimes, you really can varnish the truth, a little.

(Lorna Irvine)


Attempting to keep the peace… Nicholas presides. Photos by Leslie Black.

At Ayr Gaiety Theatre from 6th-11th June


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