The Ugly One
July 4 – 20, 2019
The Tron stage looked great as we took our seats for the Scottish Premier of The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg, an award winning writer from Munich. With a door to each side and two pairs of plinths with metallic fruit bowls, the walls, blinds, a conveyer belt all looked very plush and inviting. The characters, played by Martin McCormack (Lette), Sally Reid (Lette’s wife Fanny/rich old lady), Michael Dylan (Lette’s boss/Scheffler the surgeon) and Helen Katamba, carried on their chairs and sat centre stage in a row, launching straight into the action.
The plot revolved around a revolutionary new plug, invented by Lette, who was very excited about his invention. But the other characters seemed more concerned with who should promote the new product, agreeing unanimously that Lette himself was far too ugly to be entrusted with the task. This came as news to Lette and it was only when his wife agreed with the others that he conceded the point. Rather bizzarly, it was decided that plastic surgery was the way to go.
Movement around the stage was glorious, with people sliding on the conveyer belt, the blind on the walls gliding gracefully to and fro, keeping the action moving with pace in an every-changing set. The hilarities were also unending; clever to the point of showcasing all the facets of theatre, clearly a most accomplished piece packed with the sheer delight of writing and most glorious acting. In continuous use was a screen above the action. We were introduced to this for the first surgery scene that had me in stitches. They held a smart phone to the scene and proceeded to cut into fruit to simulate Lette under the knife
But the surgery turns out to have unexpected consequences, with the new-look Lette becoming subject to the demands of everyone, much to his dismay. The climax comes when Lette climbs on to one of the plinths, in seeming isolation – how dramatic, how captivating! In the ensuing confusion, Lette comes face to face with some very dark truths about human nature.
This show is the blackest of black comedies, touching upon the reality of modern life and how it is lived, making you think. But mostly making you laugh. This was fun, totally brilliant, I commend it and I recommend it. It’s on at the Tron until 20 July – don’t miss it!