Waiting for Groucho
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 17–Sat 20 Oct
It may be hard to believe now, but the Marx brothers shocked audiences in the 1930s. As American critic Roger Ebert commented, ‘How much more anarchic the Marx brothers must have seemed in their time than we can understand today.’ Although their impact is less potent for modern audiences, their work is still celebrated, most recently by up and coming Glasgow Theatre Company Rhymes with Purple.
Playwright Louise Oliver explains: ‘It’s about the life of the Marx brothers told from the point of view of the less famous brothers, Chico and Harpo, while they wait for Groucho to arrive for their last gig. As they’re waiting, they reminisce about their time from vaudeville to Hollywood and everything in between.’
Oliver goes on to explain: ‘The Marx brothers style of humour transcends time, there’s an anarchy to their comedy – in particular Groucho’s razor sharp wit has never aged.’ It’s not all laughs, though as Oliver makes clear. ‘Chico drives the story, so towards the end we focus on his gambling problem bringing an element of poignancy to the piece.’
She highlights the play’s broad appeal: ‘The great thing about the Marx brothers is that most people are aware of them in some way, especially the image of Groucho. Even if you’re not a fan, I hope the audience will experience a great night of entertainment at the theatre, much in the same way as people did when vaudeville was at its peak.’