Theatre review: 52 Shades of Maggie
A comic romp not for the easily offended
Despite the title, this 52 Shades has little to do with BDSM or life-style pornography: beneath the heroine's bluster, there are no expensive consumables or romantic millionaires. Rather, this comic monologue sequel to the successful 51 Shades is a shaggy dog tale from the lower classes of Glasgow, with references to casual sex in Largs and dogging on Glasgow Green replacing the jet-set adventures of 50 Shades of Grey.
Kirsty Strain, starring as Maggie Muff (sic), combines an unflagging enthusiasm with occasional flashes of physical comedy, to lend Leesa Harker's script a youthful energy, ensuring that the stream of swear-words and sexual adventures is more than just a litany of outrageous acts. Maggie is good-hearted, if naïve and, and while the story contains plenty of pumping, the plot is driven by her friendship with the even more naïve Sally-Anne.
The format is closer to comic stand-up than theatre, with a single performer and limited scenography, but Strain invests Maggie with an almost sensual dynamism, in spite of her vulgar language and aggressive, yet thwarted, desire to get pumped by Sexy Anthony.
The humour is broad, even crude: matching the profanity of Viz magazine, Maggie could be seen as a svelte and more empowered version of The Fat Slags. Yet the message at the end, about friendship, is sweetly sentimental, and Maggie stage-manages a romantic and heart-warming finale, ending, inevitably, in a friendly punch-up in the pub and reconciliation in the kebab shop.