There’s no doubt about it, writer Leesa Harker and actress Caroline Curran are hugely talented women. In the third and last of their trilogy featuring Maggie Muff, we meet the same characters, her true love Billy Scriven, her suitor Mr. Red, White and Blue and her best friend big Sally-Ann.
The dialogue is the same, vulgar and explicit, funny and shocking and, bar a few who left before the interval, totally accepted by the audience. From the minute she walks on stage, empty except for two giant bejewelled flip flops made in Newry, she has them in the palm of her hand, she’s an old friend, easy to be with, welcomed as one of their own.
The audience are as hilarious as the play itself, jolly women and a few men, who are on a night out, drinks in hand and laughter at the ready.
In this one woman show the story is told to us by Maggie in her broad Belfast way. She and her mate are off to Benidorm to buy cigarettes and then bring them home to sell at a profit. Of course they were going to take advantage of the talent at the same time and in graphic detail, they do. And why not, just before she leaves Belfast, Maggie discovers that Billy has had an affair with one of her friends who is now pregnant; Maggie is distraught and drowns her sorrows and her sexual appetite in the freedom of a holiday in the sun. Especially funny is the skinny dipping incident in the hotel pool one night and the exploits on the nudist beach with a couple from Rathcoole.
Caroline Curran has a wonderful knack of assuming a new character in an instant, the whining Sally-Ann, the somber Mr. Red, White and Blue and straight talking Sinead. They take shape before our eyes, the body language as well as the timbre of the voice. Leesa Harker has introduced some topical references, Arlene Foster, Jimmy Nesbitt, even Carl Framton all take a bow.
Make no mistake, this is a verbally explicit play, body parts and intimate functions are discussed in detail yet, while it does get repetitive, it has the audience in stitches. But do they make their fortunes? All I’ll say is there is a little twist in the tale.
Like Maggie and big Sally-Ann, the audience at the Grand Opera House are out on their geg, they identify with Maggie from the word go and gave a rousing standing ovation at the end. As Maggie Muff would say, pure beezer.
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