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Review: Theatre

The Misanthrope

FRANK: Frances Poet's script focuses on truths,  hypocrisy and social media friends, with Andy Clark and Helen Mackay taking lead roles.
FRANK: Frances Poet's script focuses on truths, hypocrisy and social media friends, with Andy Clark and Helen Mackay taking lead roles.

The Misanthrope

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

THIS week's Classic Cut - a pared down version of Moliere's Misanthrope directed by Danielle McIlven - is a more-than-canny comedy of human frailties that has us laughing at... could that be us?.

The script, by Frances Poet, holds to the original form of rhyming couplets and homes in, like a heat-seeking missile, on the themes of hypocrisy, friendship and the (somewhat uncomfortable) truths about full-frontal honesty that are as apposite now as they were in 17th century France. Just to make certain that the barbs don't miss their target - no, really, could that be us? - Poet makes this a play-within-a Play, a Pie and a Pint scenario.

Al (Andy Clark) is the upwardly-ambitious playwright who prides himself on his unvarnished frankness - which, thanks to his fondness for speaking like the "common man", arrives in hilarious torrents of choice Glesca' patois, bouncing with juicy abuse.

Al abhors what he sees as the phoney posturing and fake "friend-ing" that's encouraged by today's network of social media.

Enter Selina (Helen Mackay) the pertly-ambitious Oran Mor producer whom he adores, despite her natural habitat being Facebook and her default setting that of "flirt and/or bitch" depending on who she's talking to.

All other characters, male and female, are uproariously accounted for by Rosalind Sydney who - at the drop of a hat in favour of a handbag - becomes schmooze-artist Casey or Sinead, a sniping lush of uncertain age. Not just two-faced, but four-faced - all of them beautifully observed cameos.

The staging holds an affectionate mirror up to Oran Mor itself, there are knowing references to weel-kent theatre folk and lots of clever skites at the pretensions of those who can't see beyond their own contrived profile, on or offline.

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