No 1 Fan
Oran Mor, Glasgow
September 9-14, 2019
Today’s play, pie and pint offering was a three-hander intriguingly entitled No 1 fan, by Kim Millar and appeared at the Oran Mor as part of a tour of Scottish cities. Joyce Falconer took to stage as Jan in a striking red dressing gown, soon to be joined by David McGowan as Andy her husband. From the first it was clear that Andy had found himself a younger lover less than half the age of his long suffering wife. So poor Jan was in turmoil from get go, not only trying to deal with her husband cheating on her, but with someone so very much younger. The script was sharp and pointed as Jan energetically tore strips off her errant husband about the age of her rival, not to mention the moral issue of older men coupling with far younger women.
But Jan had a plan to get her own back. She would pick up a gentleman of her own. A darker side emerged when she revealed that in fact she was going to target a specific gentleman, a journalist named Jack (Callum Cuthbertson) whose newspaper column habitually degraded older women. Jan lured her victim to the house, where he appeared in a cravat and adopted a rather arrogant stance as a darling of the business. Until she slipped something in his drink causing him to regain consciousness slumped against a radiator with Jan standing over him holding handcuffs on a chain in an almost cabaret-like spectacle. At first he thought he was going to be in for some sexual shenanigans, but as Jan chains him to the radiator she made it clear that what she wanted was for him to write a column retracting his previous attitudes.
This play featured very strong performances from all three actors. Joyce Falconer totally over the top and dangerous as Jan, railing against the way older women are treated. David McGowan as Andy, trying to justify his infidelity, but coming in the end to remember what older women have to offer and asking for forgiveness. Callum Cuthbertson as Jack the charming journalist whose swaggering persona was perhaps hiding a feeling that he could be knocked off his pedestal at any moment.
In the end I found this quite a touching piece about the power struggle between the sexes, making its points with humour and absurdity, but coming in the end to some kind of resolution. When Andy asked for a second chance, Jan magnanimously replied with a toast to second chances as the lights went down.