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Mary Go Nowhere review at Assembly George Square, Edinburgh – ‘a riot of chaotic situations’

Julie Shavers in Mary Go Nowhere at Assembly George Square Studios,Edinburgh. Photo: Roman Cho Julie Shavers in Mary Go Nowhere at Assembly George Square, Edinburgh. Photo: Roman Cho
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This new absurdist comedy by Julie Shavers uses the family unit as a metaphor for the problems dominating the USA at the moment. Mary is a fairly easy-going mother who is new to the outwardly respectable Los Angeles suburb to which she and her husband, Elmo, have moved.

The problem is her three-year old son, Tommy, who is foul-mouthed, wilful and wholly uncompromising. The residents take an interest but they are just as bad as Tommy, and soon Mary feels that the whole world is ready to lock her up and throw away the key.

Shavers’ comedy takes a while to settle in but once the tone has been fully established, it soon becomes a riot of chaotic situations and outrageous characters. Mike McShane is the grumpy neighbour with blatant alt-right tendencies but it’s Chris Grace as a very adult Tommy who gets some of the best lines.

Paul Urcioli’s direction handles the multiple scene changes with a modicum of success, but it’s a structure that seems more suited to the screen rather than the stage. In fact, the US is far better at social satire though animation and Shavers’ play could quite easily have come through the Matt Groening or Seth McFarlane school of theatre.

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Extremely funny, slightly absurdist play that struggles to maintain its form