Scottish classic a MAD masterpiece

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Monifieth Amateur Dramatics are proud of their theatre modernisation project, but right now they are taking a trip back in time.

On opening night of ‘The Steamie’, the audience was transported back to the 1950s, to the inside of an old Glasgow ‘wash-hoose’. Back in the days before washing machines and utility rooms, this was where ordinary women would go to do their weekly wash.

‘The Steamie’, by Tony Roper, shows one New Year’s Eve when four ordinary women stand side by side working their way through the familiar drudgery of washnight.

The characters of the four contrasting women are immediately recognisable. At one end of the scale there’s young newlywed Doreen. At the other is the ancient and decrepit Mrs Culfeathers and in between are middle-aged housewives, Dolly and Magrit. Despite their differences in age the women have clear bonds of friendship. Each of their stories unfolds before us as they pass the time chatting about their families, friends, neighbours and people in the community. They also share their happiness, their dreams and their sadness.

Doreen (Nicky Stewart) is eagerly anticipating a wonderful future with her husband John and dreams of making a fresh start in Drumchapel.

Mrs Culfeathers, on the other hand, reminisces about the past. This wonderful character is brought to life by Ann Sutherland.

Dolly (Flora Lowrey) is a larger-than-life character who makes the best of things in her own inimitable style. Magrit (Fiona Barton) is a bitter and disillusioned woman with a drunken husband and two adored sons, who keeps her warm heart well hidden for most of the play.

The token man in the play is the steamie’s handyman, Andy (Stuart Anthony) who has a fondness for whisky and whom the women have wrapped round their fingers.

The essence of the play is about a way of life passing into history, and ordinary women facing up to those changes with as much humour, courage and resilience as they can muster. MAD have done us proud once more in bringing this masterpiece to life.

‘The Steamie’ continues tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) and from March 26 to 28 at Monifieth Theatre, 72 High Street. Curtains up at 7.30 p.m., tickets are £9 and £7 concession from Troups Pharmacy, The Van Diner, Monifieth, and Yorkshire Building Society, Broughty Ferry, or call 01382 480043.