The latest production by the Abbey Theatre Club tickles the funny bone and pulls at the heart strings all at once in an unlikely setting.
‘Waiting On One’ by renowned Scots author Anne Downie is an extrapolation of the popular kitchen sink drama, taking place in a Glasgow bingo hall, and is injected with real earthy humour and a surprising number of songs!
It examines what brings people to the bingo and the hope and companionship it can offer.
Jinty (Laura Adam) and Molly (Marlene Kear) are a fantastic pairing playing off one another, their banter was responsible for much of the laughs, even if Jinty’s marriage is troubled and Molly is suffering from empty nest syndrome.
Alan Johnston is on fine form as over-protective bingo hall manager Mr Ross, and he switched into his hilarious panto dame routine without missing a beat, much to his credit.
Sociologist Ruth Richards (Rhudi Smith) does a good job providing the cypher to explore much of the hidden psychology of bingo-goers.
Contrasting the ‘Glasgae’ banter are the stories of Joe (James Robb) and Maggie (Irene Lindsay). Both feel alienated by circumstance and come to the bingo to alleviate their anxiety, Joe, feeling emasculated after his redundancy near depression but enjoys the simpleness of the act of bingo, while Maggie craves the company, even though bingo and other factors eventually lead to her tragic downfall. Lending their support and adding vital backstory were Lisa-Maria Woods (Moira), Kim Rennie (Mae) and Pam Ruxton (policewoman).
The songs were engaging and very well sung, both in a number of complex duets and in choir, with the added vocals of Zoe Killoh and Kain Jack Yuille, and accompaniment from Marina Kyle and Alison Hart.
The small set again has been used creatively, and lighting is used ingeniously to suggest different locales without needless interruption.
Director Carol Bruce has made a sublime choice with her cast who at all times have full command of their audience’s emotions, laughing one minute, devastated the next. The run finishes tomorrow (Saturday) and we look forward to seeing this incredible quality continued in the future.