Theatre review: Yer Granny
A fine cast are poorly served by a lacklustre script in this National Theatre of Scotland production
The Russo family have had their chips in Yer Granny, a black comedy from National Theatre of Scotland. Douglas Maxwell's adaptation of Roberto Cossa's Argentine hit comedy La Nona has an all-star cast, yet it never gets into first gear, despite featuring some of the cream of Scottish comedy and theatre
The Russo clan are a gone to seed Scots-Italian family, once proud chip shop owners whose obese grotesque Granny (Gregor Fisher) is becoming a gluttonous burden.
While its 70s setting certainly feels authentic, pulsing to the squeaky-clean sounds of the Bay City Rollers, the plot is stuck in a rut. Never quite The Broons, almost the Coen Brothers, it lacks enough bad taste to equal the vomit-beige decor or the pathos to hook audience sympathy as the comedy is gradually replaced by tragedy in the final scene.
Torpor sets in halfway, in spite of some excellent dialogue, particularly involving Paul Riley's Charlie and his onanistic night symphonies, or Barbara Rafferty's Auntie Angela and her incongruous drug frenzy. Both performances are superb – two deluded snobs given a kicking in audacious style – but leaving other characters wanting in depth and humour.
It is generally a fine cast. Sadly, the direction by Graham McLaren means that the often tangy script is rendered lacklustre, only finding its chops in a fizzing finale. The subtlety – and fun – of Maxwell’s brilliant A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity seems a long way away.
Reviewed at Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 28 May.