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Fly Me To The Moon review at Traverse Theatre Edinburgh

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It is a tough piece of theatre for a lunchtime that opens Paines Plough’s new association with Oran Mor. It’s an association that’s allowing five of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie And A Pint productions to tour widely, in the season when the company celebrates its 200th production – the overwhelming majority of which are new commissions.

The tragedy that tempers the comedy of Marie Jones’ new play is the mundane one of grinding poverty. The tragedy that two care workers, whose life revolves around the cleaning up of their aged clients, could need the paltry few pounds suddenly available to them when 84-year-old Davie dies unexpectedly, just before they draw his weekly pension from the ATM.

Oh, there is comedy there: in the interaction between Katie Tumelty’s spiky, quickly observant Francis and Abigail McGibbon’s slow, kindly Loretta. There’s plenty of humour in their realisation that not only the pension, but also unclaimed winnings could be theirs. But there is nothing really to laugh at, in the sickening realisation that they are not going to get away with their victimless crime.

James Grieve’s direction whisks it all quickly along, punting the laughs up front and giving Tumelty and McGibbon the necessary comedic broad-brush shorthands to whisk plot and development along in the brief time available. But not so broad and cartoon-like as to hinder their – and Jones’ – success in creating a pair of humane and likeable characters. So that when the ending, warned of in the play’s flashback structure, finally arrives, there is nothing to laugh at in the pair’s tragedy.

Production Information

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, September 21-25, then touring until October 9

Marie Jones
James Grieve
A co-production between Oran Mor and Paines Plough
Cast includes
Katie Tumelty, Abigail McGibbon
Running time
50 mins

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