Play Pie and Pint
Oran Mor, Glasgow
Set: Script: Performance:
Isobel, played to mesmerising perfection by actress Janette Foggo is a typical west end theatre goer…a lady who lunches.. or is she? This play by Peter Arnott makes us think beyond the loud woman in the audience who is complaining about when the play is going to start. We are taken on a roller-coaster ride of life from sibling rivalry to toyboys and everything inbetween and beyond.
Meet Isobel , newly wealthy from her mothers demise : a lady with a fiery wit who takes no prisoners when it comes to life. This offering has more proverbial food to chew on than the mutton pie or quiche that comes with it. Of course Isobel is a quiche eater, she wouldn’t be seen dead with a greasy pie in front of her. It’s bad enough frequenting a former presbyterian church due to her very fixed views on, ‘presbyterian arse grabbers ’ but as she peruses the audience she’s not quite convinced, ‘looking at these pensioners maybe it is still church goers,’ in this place. As Isobel moved from her perch in the front row to take centre stage it becomes apparent that this woman doesn’t care for the theatre too much , they are always trying to convey, ‘some message to make you feel guilty.’ Now her twin sister, frumpy Morag is a different kettle of fish, a bit of a culture vulture, ‘this is her kinda place.’
Isobel leads us on a merry verbal dance conjuring up potent visual images in our minds as she gives us her life story in under an hour with much mirthfulness along the way because as you find out Isobel is a half-full rather than half-empty kind of girl. At times you will love her, at times pity her though she would really hate that. Her demotic rhythms chime many a chord : humorously captivating us, not only with her charm but her scathingly wry comments like, ‘a protracted fart – plenty of time to walk away.’ The twins’ old school teacher, purple permanent maxi suited brutal Mrs Mackay’s ‘face softened…to a simper,’ prior to writing the word on the chalkboard before, ‘she held my hair and rubbed it out with my face.’
It really is all in the delivery, no amount of words can express this experience well enough. Peter Arnott is as accomplished a fellow Weegie as Chris Brookmyre, and is a talent to be treasured. If you can’t make this play, his new book Moon Country will give you many a laugh but you would miss Janette Foggo, (Rhoda Tait in movie Loch Ness and Mrs Meikle in Rab C. Nesbitt) bringing Arnott’s Isobel to life : from her smoking and shoplifting days when she suffered five hours of of Scottish opera on a Sunday afternoon to her plans for a face-lift in the imminent future, a beguiling presence with a thunderous thespian delivery and sense of timing difficult to match
Reviewer : Clare Crines