Yer Granny: classic Argentinian comedy adapted by National Theatre of Scotland
Scottish version of Roberto Cossa’s La Nona stars Gregor Fisher, Maureen Beattie and Jonathan Watson
‘I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of it,’ says adapting writer Douglas Maxwell of Roberto Cossa’s 1977 play La Nona, the most successful Argentinian stage show ever and the recipient of an all-star BBC adaptation in 1991 (starring Les Dawson, Liz Smith and Timothy Spall). Despite his reservations about doing the translation justice, director Graham McLaren’s suggestion that they shift it to a Scottish setting eventually persuaded him. ‘He talked about those Borderline Dario Fos, Davie Kane’s ‘Dumbstruck’ and Joe Orton,’ says Maxwell, ‘and I certainly knew what they were. Those are the plays I grew up on.’
Yer Granny is an out-and-out comedy, says Maxwell, albeit one which gets ‘pretty dark … almost gross-out’ towards the end, about a 100-year-old grandmother (Gregor Fisher) who has eaten the Russo family’s fish and chip shop out of business and is set to start on their family home.
‘It seemed very now,’ he says. ‘It’s about austerity, poverty, greed, pride, family, ideals and the extremes of all those things. In the rehearsal room we talked a lot about hunger, the hunger for more that can become uncontrollable. It’s in everyone, everywhere, from chip shops to Buckingham Palace. Nana is a physical manifestation of that hunger run amuck.’
Yer Granny is touring throughout Scotland until Sat 4 Jul