Well, to put it simply, playwright Brenda Murphy has done it again.
Although she has many titles to her credit, it’s probably her one woman play A Night With George that’s best remembered for her comic writing, her acting and her wild imagination. A cut out of George Clooney did it for her. Now Baby It’s Cold Outside is doing it for audiences in the MAC where the staff are friendly, from the minute you go through the front door it’s smiles of welcome. It’s the sort of place where every one talks to everyone else whether you know them or not and you can laugh out loud without feeling self-conscious. Good thing when it comes to this play.
It must be a unique story line, three lesbians and a brickie. Pretty straight forward at first, Joe the bricklayer has obliged Patsy by fathering her unborn baby but Patsy is in love with, and lives with, Sally a marine biologist. Their house guest is Madison, an American law student, all three are lesbians.
When Joe arrives out of a blizzard to see how the mother of his child is going, he can’t understand this ménage à trois, Patsy was his girlfriend and is now carrying his baby, he wants to look after her, he’s hiked through two feet of snow to see her for goodness sake, only to find she doesn’t want him any more. She’s happy living with Sally and the beautiful Madison.
His alarm gives rise to a very funny script excellently delivered by the actors-
Patsy – Kerri Quinn
Sally – Jo Donnelly
Madison – Tanya Thomson
Joe – Kevin Elliott.
Joe argues with Patsy, he tells her she doesn’t look like a lesbian and anyway, who ever heard of a lesbian working in Primark. There are no queer bricklayers he tells her, only hairdressers, singers and airline cabin crew are gay. He is wary of Sally but acknowledges she must be clever, smarter than the other girls at school because no one asks lesbians out so they have more time to study!
The girls met in Nancy’s pub in Ardara when on a whale watching expedition in Rosbeg Donegal, they fell for each other and now live in comfort in a home with wallpaper covered in starfish, sea horses and seaweed. Plenty of fish pictures round the wall and Sally’s precious collection of CDs, especially her Rod Stewarts.
The audience love the banter.
At the interval the comments included: “Very Belfast”; “A good laugh”; “It’s different, great night out.”
The second half holds a lot of surprises. One is that, rather than being “a sperm donor using a turkey baster”, Joe tells a shocked Sally that he didn’t send it by e-mail but delivered it personally, not what the mother-to-be led her lover to believe.
When Patsy has her first contraction there’s panic. An ambulance can’t get near them, the freezing wind was too strong for a helicopter so Joe, who has read up on having babies, gets down on his hands and knees, Sally twitters around and Madison gets on the phone to the hospital and between them they deliver the baby. It’s hilarious, very basic, you’ll know how to deliver a baby after this, but you’ll never guess the real surprise in store when it arrives.
Well worth going to see for yourself.
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
MAC Theatre Belfast until 9th February 2014.
Review by Anne Hailes
Check all Anne Hailes Belfast Times reviews here.