Who says the golden age of Scottish comedy is over? The fat has been chewed to death, Gary retired his tank, Frankie Boyle is one more controversial remark away from getting deported, but there is still hope in a less obvious place; the stage. The King’s Theatre, to be exact. For three nights only , Scotland’s culture vultures assembled for the simple story of the burdens faced by a family housing a doting grandmother who runs the risk of eating them out of “hoose and hame!”
Based on Roberto Cossa’s La Nona, Douglas Maxwell’s rewritten version takes place in the rough world of 70’s Glasgow, or possibly the 00’s with no money to redecorate.
At the heart of this colourful family is a woman of little words, but with a big appetite; a less homey, knitting grandmother and more a don’t-dare-try-to-take-her-biscuits grandmaw, played by Rab C Nesbitt’s Gregor Fisher. Her sons; Cammy, (Only An Excuse’s Jonathon Watson) is a failed, but optimistic chip shop owner whose chip stock mysteriously kept going down without profit and Charlie, (Still Game’s Paul Riley) who sleeps all day and “self-indulges” all night as part of his creative process as an accordion composer. Cammy’s wife, Marie (Midsomer Murders’ Maureen Beattie) is the accountant of the family, desperately trying to keep things afloat, while their dim-witted daughter, Marissa (Scot’s Squad’s Louise McCarthy) unwittingly involves their live-in Aunty Angela (River City’s Barbara Rafferty) in drug dealing, while harbouring a lifelong crush for the family’s professional enemy; pervy, chip shop owner, Donnie Francisco (Still Game’s Brian Pettifer).
Scotland’s version of Mrs Brown isn’t nearly as loudmouth, but just as hilarious. Despite having maybe three lines repeated, Fisher steals the show as Nana, making everyone giggle. Whether it’s the way she chews her food (or not), how she almost topples the fridge to reach the biscuits or her complete disinterest in anyone else, there’s undoubtedly something there that speaks to each audience member and reminds them of their own grandmother. It’s more what she doesn’t say (mainly because her mouth is usually full) that bags the laughs. The humour is sometimes dirty, sometimes witty, sometimes the cause of hindsight, often dry and always a slam-dunk!
After a plot twist, including the discovery of the recipe of chips ‘n’ cheese, the show has an explosive finish that leaves you wanting a chippy desperately! I’ll bet the local chippy on Sauchiehall Street made a storm last week!