It’s inevitable that Gregory Burke’s new comedy will be considered in the light of multi award-winning international smash Black Watch, but, by any standards Hoors is a major disappointment. The main problem is one of tone. When grieving almost-widow Vicky (Lisa Gardner) disdainfully whisks the cover off her fiancé Andy’s coffin our expectations are primed for a wicked black comedy. And Burke’s is a promising premise: Big Andy died of a heart attack on the plane home from his now legendary stag weekend, but the bride-to-be is more relieved than upset – in fact she’s already transferred her affections to Stevie (Michael Moreland).
Rather than delivering the hoped-for black farce, however, the piece descends into dreary sexual politics as Vicky and sister Nikki (Catherine Murray) embark on a coke- and alcohol-fuelled night with Stevie and his Lothario pal, Tony (Andy Clark). Their discussions are banal, the characters cold and self-serving, the performances generally listless (although Clark does make a convincing fist of the self-loathing Tony), and the garish, rotating set is a pointless distraction. Burke makes a few trite points about the characters’ pathetic slavery to fashion and there’s the odd amusing observation in among the puerile humour, but a few half-decent punchlines don’t make for good drama. Hopefully, Hoors will come to represent a blip in Burke’s otherwise impressive body of work.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 23 May; Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 26 May–Sat 6 Jun