King Keich: Louise Welsh serves satire with pies (4 stars)

King Keich

Crime novelist Welsh delivers an absurdist play with plenty of murder, of course

Erring on the ridiculous, Louise Welsh's updated take on Jarry's classic Ubu Roi is an inventive, lyrically scathing spin on contemporary politics.

Grant O'Rourke, giving good camp as despotic, gold-clad game show host King Keich has an ego the size of Trump, and a Kanye-ish swagger, albeit of a Scottish variety. Jesus walks, but he oozes. As he primps, preens and showboats to the camera (operated by director Paul Brotherston) the body count rises. It's as though the audience has been dazzled by a leftfield choice of leader with capital at his disposal, instead of nous. Surely not, couldn't happen here.

Ably abetted by his disdainfully glamorous wife (Meghan Tyler) and opposed by a variety of characters, all hilariously portrayed by Alasdair Hankinson, Keich has his work cut out for him. But it's nothing a few empty but charismatic sound bites can't cure.

Welsh's script is of course, a scabrous treat, filled with the grisly deaths which are her trademark. But there's a lightness of touch to it all in Brotherston's snappy direction. Stream of consciousness monologues keep the laughs coming, with even Alexa the AI phone technology meeting 'her' manufacturer.

The superb trio ensure that even as the jokes land, the inherent message of greed, entitlement and media manipulation is never lost. And Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters' lovely duet 'Tonight, You Belong To Me' will never sound quite the same again.

Oran Mor, Glasgow, until Sat Oct 27.

A Play, a Pie and a Pint: King Keich

Absurdist play about a game show host called King Keich, who holds the highest position in his nation but brings with it chaos and murder.

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