Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut brings an irreverent key change to the Hollywood classic
- Lorna Irvine
- 10 July 2017
Superb, cheeky take on classic 1942 drama
Sometimes, to paraphrase the famous song, a kiss can be more than just a kiss. Morag Fullarton's play is more of a Glasgow kiss at times, as her much-loved adaptation returns to Òran Mór to bring an irreverent key change to one of Hollywood's best-loved wartime romances. An impish Gavin Mitchell again takes the iconic role of Rick Blaine,nursing a broken heart and a few cocktails in his club hideaway, a glamorous vintage Moorish set by Imogen Toner Grant. With support as various characters from a superb Clare Waugh and Jimmy Chisholm, the performance is stuffed full of anarchic asides, always threatening to spill out into full-on romp mode.
There are frequent breaking of the fourth wall, twinkling film noir references, and an inventive use of props, like a tacky gift shop model representing Rick's bar room pianist Sam. Deconstructing the acting process itself, and parodying the romantic limitations of the Hays Code, the focus never rests on a linear storyline for too long. But the nobility of Rick's decision not to go with Ilsa Lund, thus saving them both from certain death by the Nazis, is actually really touching and faithfully rendered. It's Chisholm's obsequious, wormy Ugarte/Peter Lorre though, that brings the house down.His flirtatious scenes with Mitchell are lovely examples of how physical comedy can draw out mischievous subtexts that were surely never intended as part of the original screenplay. There's even a chance to singalong with 'Le Marseillaise', which the audience do in one big lusty voice.
Resistance is of course, futile.
Òran Mór, Glasgow, July 7–9, 13–16, 19–23 £15.