Beg Borrow Steal
8th – 13th May 2017
Review 1 : Daniel Donnelly
The Oran Mor is now a major venue for all things entertainment, including the play pie & & pint theatrical lunch break. On taking our seats, an announcement sprang up which told us both the venue’s success and the accomplishment of the award-winning production team behind Beg Borrow Steal, a modern take on the civil disparity between fairness and injustice. The play was quite realistic in dealing with the matter, a subdued mishmash of conversation set in a situational work piece. My friends have children, & I could well appreciate the times when Tess (played by Molly Innes) would break down while on the telephone. Character development is extremely important to this play; on the one hand we have a woman who really, really cares & on the other a youthful deviant at odds with the world.
I must admit there was a moment or two which felt out of place, a little over arty perhaps, but this play’s true strength lies in its uncannily accurate social commentary; are we actually seeing reflections of ourselves? Like all our personal relationships, Tess & Cher – played by Natalie McCleary – grew close then fell apart, while at all times carrying the emotional content of their liason in sometimes guarded words, and sometimes louder for emotional turmoil. Beg Borrow Steal & all its key messages felt right in just so many ways, & I enjoyed the thrill of piecing together an unfolding story, when as our thoughts reach their conclusions, these turn out to be more of beginnings than anything else.
Review 2 : David G Moffat
This play by David MacLennan Award winner Anita Alexander Rae, explores the relationship between Cher (Natali McCleary) a 23 year old shoplifter with attitude and Tess (Molly Innes) an incredibly understanding store-security manager. The latter has issues with her estranged daughter or more accurately her daughter’s voicemail which inevitably greets her every call. Perhaps this is why she has such sympathy for the younger woman and sees her repeated offending, not as straight-forward theft but more a cry for help. Over larcenous weeks a tenuous bond is established, with Cher becoming a kind of surrogate daughter to Tess, offering her advice on relationships and shoes while revealing bleak details of her own family life.
The different occasions when Cher is held in the office to have her fate decided (I counted five) are separated by slight scene changes accompanied with relevant sound effects which work well within themselves but do leave the overall action somewhat disjointed. Would anyone really give a shoplifter that amount of free passes? Wouldn’t store owner Mr Carrot insist a frequent offender be banged-up? Well if Hamlet topped his uncle in scene 1 there wouldn’t be a play. That said an hour’s running time did seem on the longish side.