JOYCE MCMILLAN on MARGARET AND KEN AND THE END OF THE WORLD at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman, 9.4.13.
3 stars ***
IT”S A STRANGE old day on which to be reviewing a play about a woman called Margaret, and the end of the world. There’s not much room for confusion, though, between the late Prime Minister and the heroine of Sean Hardie’s new Play, Pie And Pint lunchtime comedy, who arrives at the office door of harassed psychotherapist Ken wearing the unmistakable trappings of a bag lady, ancient rainmate and all.
Despite her appearance, though, Margaret claims that she is God, and seems to have the omniscience to prove it. First, she tells Ken that she has decided to bring this deeply flawed world to an end, in exactly 45 minutes’ time; then she thoroughly unnerves him by describing the exact current location of his wife, in a Travelodge bedroom awaiting the attentions of his best friend.
And for poor Ken, it’s all downhill from there, as his professional expertise in dealing with people who think they are religious icons or world leaders gradually crumbles in the face of Margaret’s apparently complete knowledge of his dismal inner life. In no time, the pair of them are knocking back Glenfiddich as if there was genuinely no tomorrow, while Margaret demonstrates just how easily she could finish Ken off with a heart attack, right here and now.
In the end, the territory of Hardie’s well-turned 45-minute comedy is pretty familiar; the midlife angst of the middle-class male, and the widespread 21st century conviction that if God exists at all, he or she must be a bit of a joker. It’s all beautifully delivered though, by director Ron Bain, and actors Anne Lacey and Greg Powrie; and its mixture of sheer theatrical skill and sharp midlife humour is perfectly tailored for the Oran Mor audience, who cheer the show to the echo, and seem eager for more.