Mortal Memories review by Pat Byrne

mortal memoriesMortal Memories

Written by Liz Lochhead

Directed by Marilyn Imrie

Produced by David MacLennan

Mon 20th May – Sat 25th May

A Play, A Pie and A Pint, OranMor.

Featuring Dave Anderson, Ann Scott Jones and Robert Pettigrew.

A delightful and funny snapshot of three old folk living in a Sheltered Housing Complex. Doesn’t sound the subject of engrossing entertainment but Liz Lochhead’s deft touch and insight turn this into a very fitting piece of drama to fit the slot of A Play, A Pie and A Pint’s 300th production.

Mortal Memories is, in fact, very memorable. It deals with recently widowed John (Dave Anderson) and Nettie (Ann Scott Jones) a vicar’s widow, who is suffering from dementia) and another old chum, Walter (Robert Pettigrew), whose main contribution is playing the piano). They are all Burns enthusiastics and the play catches them in the lead up to planning a Burns Supper. Liz Lochhead’s characters are very lively and believable. Nettie could quite easily be a very sad soul but despite losing her memory she still retains all her airs and graces and the essence of her personality shines through. Perfectly caught is the sadness of someone losing their faculties as disinhibition grows, whilst being sharp as a tack about somethings.

The audience howled with laughter at some of Nettie’s expositions, including not having been the most religious of vicar’s wives, ‘Had I not been a hat fanatic I would have died of boredom.’

Dave Anderson also does a fine job – conveying a combination of concern and irritation with Nettie. You also feel for John, his character, when he learns from Nettie that there were things about his recently dead wife that he didn’t know.

Particularly touching is the last scene when John arrives to pick Nettie up to take her to the Burns Supper. He finds her rather discombobulated in assembling her outfit, with one arm in and one arm out of her dress, and he has to zip it up for her. There is a lot of tenderness in this play but Liz Lochhead cleverly encourages the audience to laugh along with the characters, to feel for their difficulties but admire their continued joie de vivre – totally avoiding the mawkish.

I would have loved to have gone along to that Burns Supper.

(Mortal Memories runs at OranMor until 25th May,2013)

Pat Byrne, May 2013

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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