Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Juicy Fruits" - October 2011

It's been quite a while since I last made it along to Oran Mor's "A Play, A Pie & A Pint" lunchtime shows - and if I'm honest waiting one more week might not have been a bad idea. It's never a good sign when it's twenty minutes in and I'm glancing at my watch.

Leo Butler's play throws together two old friends meeting up for the first time in several years - Lorna is struggling as a new mum and Nina's finding it difficult to readjust to 'normality' after spending time saving the Orang Utans. But could there just possibly be more than meets the eye to Nina's decision to come home? Yawn. It's all a bit by-the-numbers, and even a coup-de-theatre that brilliantly moves the action to the jungle can't save the show.

There are a few nice barbs thrown about between the friends, and Clare Waugh makes Lorna a believable anchor in what is otherwise a pretty 'out there' show. Denise Hoey avoids making Nina 'Central Casting cooky' and instead gives her an edge that creates just enough doubt that she intends to harm, rather than simply wake Lorna's baby when she shakes his buggy. But there are too many gaps in their character's motivations to allow us to relate to their choices.

In fairness, others seemed to enjoy it more than I did, but at times I do feel the Play, Pie, Pint audiences can be generous to a fault.

Juicy Fruits is a co-production with Paines Plough. It runs at Oran Mor until Saturday 22nd October before visiting Edinburgh's Traverse, Manchester Royal Exchange & Coventry's Belgrade Theatre.
Image by Leslie Black Photography used with permission