Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

three stars

Halfway up a mountain in the Spanish Pyrenees is not the most obvious spot for a bit of marriage mending - or perhaps ending. But that’s where fortysomethings Ken (Keith Fleming) and Mo (Kim Gerard) have fetched up, thanks to her mother paying for the trip - and writer Sean Hardie spinning what is basically a ridiculous scenario into a play that harbours thoughts on how and why some relationships survive, and others...well, others fall onto the rocks below the intended summit.

In Camino - the first production in a new season of a Play, Pie and Pint at Oran Mor - Ken and Mo are struggling towards the remote shrine of Santamaria Caramonte, Patron Saint of Misunderstandings and Spiritual Refreshment where - who knows? - a miracle of marital reconciliation might make their tenth anniversary feel like a fresh start. Would this have come to pass if a second couple - Helen (Irene Allen) and Donald (Lewis Howden) - hadn’t arrived, happed in the cutesy-cuddly glow of their own anniversary. Tiger and Mrs Mouse - their playful kidult nicknames- have been together for twenty-five years and their lovey-dovey snugglings make Ken and Mo squirm. They retaliate by concocting fake facts about themselves, wind-ups where Hardie’s sharp, often bitingly funny one-liners are like snipers’ bullets. Picking holes in the older couple’s togetherness offers the increasingly irritable Ken and Mo a diversion from casting up the failings from their own marriage - and again, there’s clever, witty ripostes that Fleming, especially relishes. But bit by bit, what feels like a series of linked-together comedy sketches, moves towards bitter confrontations. It’s as if the schism between Ken and Mo has caused ruptures between (a newly emboldened) Donald and Helen, his sweetly controlling other half. Brutal truths break through the sham veneer of lies, all four have grubby secrets - however I’m not saying who breaks up and who makes up in this well-acted, briskly directed (by Ron Bain) show.