Chic Murray: A Funny Place for a Window

Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan

Five stars

Two words have again translated into ‘hot ticket’ at Oran Mor. The words are: Chic Murray – and if you haven’t already secured your ticket for this week’s Play, Pie and a Pint production, you could try early queueing at the box office where a few have been held back. What makes this revival of Stuart Hepburn’s rollicking salute to Chic Murray, the Scottish comedian and actor who died in 1985, such a draw? Put simply – it is a terrific tonic to the spirits. A kindly chance to relish the skew-whiff, observational take on everyday occurrences that Murray spliced into the humorous anecdotes and pithy rejoinders that left post-war audiences helpless with laughter.

That gleefully uplifted laughter now greets Chic Murray: A Funny Place for a Window at Oran Mor – just as it did when the piece was premiered there last May. Nicely representative elements of Murray’s own comedic material are cannily woven into writer/director Hepburn’s pacey biographical script while Dave Anderson – once again sporting Chic’s signature bunnet – subtly goes beyond the flights of freefall eccentricity to reveal the self-centred needy side that played to the gallery and philandered in the wings... finally alienating his on and off-stage partner, Maidie. Kate Donnelly originally played Maidie.

Maureen Carr now steps into the Small Doll’s silver-glittery shoes and finds them a perfect fit. Like Anderson, she catches the profound bond that brought her, and Murray’s Tall Droll, together. You see it when they go into their sweetheart song’n’dance but her increasing silence, her stillness, speak volumes of hurt inflicted over years of being taken forgranted. Brian James O’Sullivan returns as the ‘ensemble’, playing everything from the piano to long-time pal and more. If the Blackpool Wedding escapade makes you laugh, the final song may move you to tears – and you may wish you’d bought tickets for the rest of the week.