It’s Only Words


JOYCE MCMILLAN on IT’S ONLY WORDS at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman, 27.9.14.

3 stars ***

THERE’S CLEARLY something up, with the woman locked in a municipal public toilet who is the central character in Sylvia Dow’s latest play, essentially a 50-minute molongue with occasional interventions from two other characters.  She looks like an ordinary housewife in late middle-age, hanging her coat on a hook, putting down her shopping bags, availing herself of the facilities; but then she takes out a book, sits on a small bench in the toilet, and refuses to come out.

It takes a long time for the full shape of her predicament to emerge, though, in this delicately-written but downbeat piece for the current Play, Pie and Pint season; we hear a great deal about Mrs. Moore’s interest in books, and in possible library classifications of the graffiti on the toilet walls, before we get down the story of her love for, and enduring marriage to, a faithless man who finally falls deeply in love with another woman.  Eileen Nicholas gives a gorgeous, humorous, and deeply-felt performance as this ageing heroine, ably supported by Kirstin McLean as the young policewoman who arrives to check on her, and Jamie Francis as her handsome husband in his youth.  The play, though, seems like one of those that ends where it ought to begin; and although Stasi Schaeffer’s production is full of care for the material, it needs more pace and theatrical energy to being it fully to life.



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