Sometimes, all you need is a flying suit and a big dream. Or so it seems. Morna Young’s rather bonkers, but sweet, play for PPP, focuses on the eternal dreamer, Aberdonian woman Joan, whose devotion from childhood to Elvis Presley takes on a new lease of life when she’s picked up at a try- out for Ultimate Elvis, a contest where a legion of Presley wannabes try to out- hip shake each other.
There are definite shades of Martin Scorsese’s King Of Comedy here, not least in the fact that Joan is somewhat deluded and still lives with her mum: only in this instance, it’s not Robert De Niro, but a middle-aged woman who performs Hound Dog, Are You Lonesome Tonight? and a truly barnstorming Good Luck Charm in broad Doric, high kicks and all.
But surely love of the form, and a potential sweetheart, will see her through? Her plain-speaking, wheelchair- bound mum Agnes (Karen Ramsay) and best friend Fat Bob (David McGowan) who runs a karaoke night, don’t necessarily agree, as such, but are on her side. The trio are great, directed with verve by Ken Alexander, but it’s pocket rocket Joyce Falconer’s slightly demented, yet goodhearted Joan, who is fantastic throughout. It’s impossible to take your eyes off her.
Young’s characters feel heart- squeezingly real- Joan and Agnes’ relationship elicits broad laughs as well as poignancy, as they confront some of the demons left in the wake of losing her father in a tragic accident. There is the gnawing sense that Joan has never been left to develop as an adult, still clinging to the hope that a few rhinestones and friends on the internet constitute any kind of life ; while caring for her mother has become a chore, in spite of her obvious love for her.
Even her adoration of Elvis seems to have been something she fell into, or in her own words, spread like ‘a wee gentle rash’. There’s not a lot of agency in her life, only misguided confidence as she takes to the stage. Aye Elvis is a gentle comedy-drama which should resonate with anyone who has ever loved music now, as much as when they were kids.This Burger Quine, with her fetish for Lycra, is a palatable lunchtime addition- a meditation on which of our selves we really want to share.
At Oran Mor until March 3rd