- Lorna Irvine
- 6 December 2018
Johnny McKnight serves Maryhill realness
Few writers create working class theatre with such an ear for the cadences of its language, a generosity of spirit, and its limitations and problems than the unstoppable force of nature, Johnny McKnight. Mammy Goose is an unabashed joy from start to finish.
Whether referencing the greed of Glasgow based businessman Stefan King or sticking the boot in to the ubiquity of drink culture, it's all second nature to McKnight's sharp Sharpie. This Mammy Goose may be saturated in Maryhill chip fat, but the themes of callous capitalism and the poor struggling to get by are universal. The golden egg storyline becomes almost incidental, but it scarcely matters.
Vanity Visage (a funny and big voiced Lauren Ellis-Steele) isn't just a Michelle Visage styled diva, but a youth obsessed villain with something of the loan shark tucked under her kitty claws.
When Vanity offers McKnight's latest blowsy minx Mammy the offer of eternal youth, she's tempted. She's a fallible matriarch, and there is a nice subtext here about the invisibility of older women.
But it's as accessible as always, and the superb pairing of Darren Brownlie and Ryan Ferrie's burgeoning romance sweetens the barbs. It's actually incredibly rare – not to mention movin g – to see a gay relationship within the context of an uproarious family panto. Jack and Will are a couple to root for.
Ross Brown's gloriously catchy songs and the pop art set by Kenny Miller design doesn't disappoint, and the whole shebang works for all ages, backgrounds and sexual persuasions. Just ask Calum from Aberdeen, the willing audience member clambered on by Mammy.
Tron, Glasgow, until Sun 6 Jan.