Bingo! is an eccentric spectacle
- Lorna Irvine
- 12 March 2018
Theatrical team up fun, but tonally confused
Johnny McKnight's latest carousel of kitsch sees him collaborate with Anita Vettesse. As two of Scotland's finest theatre makers the writing is, naturally, sharp and acerbic. As usual, the cast excel in this musical parody where Daniella (Louise McCarthy) struggling with debt is driven to desperate measures to make money, and the humble bingo hall —a pink glittery setting designed by Carys Hobbs and Becky Minto— becomes a scene of bizarre and comedic horror.
McCarthy is simply wonderful— a Maryhill Marilyn Monroe with a mouth like a navvy. She's more than matched in sheer unbridled lunacy by Barbara Rafferty as Joanna, a haunted wee lady with a Henry the Hoover as an unlikely sidekick, and a show stopping number in 'Fuck Off And Die'. Wendy Seager brings an unexpected pathos to Mary, Daniella's wasp chewing mother, when she reveals her sensitive side, and a superb Jo Freer's Ruth is a harassed new mum who elicits broad laughs and sympathy in equal measure.
However, the knockabout and surreal humour of the first half means the emotive, almost soapy, scenes in the second aren't really earned,the songs about self affirmation feel almost shoehorned in, and at over two hours, it's a bit too long.
Still, there is enough to recommend this eccentric musical, not least the spectacle of Rafferty on a wild-eyed amyl nitrate and energy drink binge.
Assembly Hall, Edinburgh until Sat March 17, then Tron Theatre, Glasgow Thur 12-Sat 14 Apr.