Chic Murray: A Funny Place for a Window

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan, five stars

“I got up this morning. I like to get up in the morning; it gives me the rest of the day to myself...” The opening gambit is one of the late Chic Murray’s many conversational launchpads into flights of anecdotal humour: wonderfully wily episodes where the banal and commonplace rub up against an idiosyncratic, often surreal, view of the world – producing sparks of comedic genius that leave audiences helpless with laughter.

Those highs of hilarity – along with some of Chic’s original material – is lovingly revisited by Oran Mor’s current Play, Pie and a Pint, presented in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts.

Dave Anderson, sporting Chic’s signature bunnet, inhabits the character of the Tall Droll with a remarkable, affable ease – the distinctive accent, the drawl in the delivery of pithy one-liners, the air of oddly raffish naivete, all beautifully in place without a trace of heavy-handed mimicry. The Small Doll – as wife and stage partner, Maidie, was billed – is the narrator in writer/director Stuart Hepburn’s astute precis of Chic’s life and career.

Inevitably it’s not all laughs. Kate Donnelly’s bright, spirited Maidie gradually shrinks into a telling silence as Chic’s success fragments their relationship on-stage and off. Maidie it was who got him started in showbusiness – and it’s ex-wife Maidie he wanted to see when he was dying.

This particular scene cleverly book-ends the piece: first time round, it feels like one of Chic’s absurd stories – at the end, it edges into more poignant territory. Brian James O’Sullivan – he’s the ‘ensemble’ in the programme credits – assists merrily in the many musical moments, even excelling as arpeggio-king Liberace.

Songs, gags, memories of variety days gone by – it’s all here, folks, with Chic Murray’s wit and eccentricity presiding throughout. Get one foot following the other – and walk your way to a lunchtime treat.