One In A Million

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JOYCE MCMILLAN on ONE IN AMILLION at Oran Mor, Glasgow, for The Scotsman, 12.10.15.
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3 stars ***

IT’S FULL OF CHARM, and it makes a good point in fine style, with added songs. The problem with Cathy Forde’s latest lunchtime Play, Pie And Pint show, though, is that it’s not so much a play as a delightful 50-minute advert for the Scottish-based charity Mary’s Meals, which now provides both essential porridge breakfasts and back-packs of life-changing small gifts for over a million schoolchildren across the world’s poorest nations, from Africa to Haiti.

So in the basement of an ordinary Scottish school, janitor and boiler-fixer Gerry – an ordinary guy of 50 or so – meets Susan, a trainee teacher from Malawi. As a graduate of the Mary’s Meals project herself, Susan has been asked to use the basement for an educational exhibition about the charity; but she has just been given the chance of a big break in her other career as a night-time club d.j., and is therefore a bit distracted.

So over half an hour of more-than-a-little idealised conversation, Gerry and Susan get to know one another, become firm friends on the subject of music, and end up forming such a firm Scotland-Malawi alliance against world poverty, and in favour of life and art, that he volunteers to use his long-suppressed artistic talents to create her exhibition, while she goes off to her audition. It’s all performed with tremendous grace, sweetness and wit by Alan McHugh and Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter, and the sounds they create when they burst into song are great. Drama, though? Not really; it’s just fun, and genial, uncritical agitprop for a very good cause.

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, tomorrow until Saturday.

ENDS ENDS

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