The Oran Mor venue has been staging lunchtime plays under the title of A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT since 2004. And that’s what you get – a very tasty pie, a drink and an hour long play, all for £12.50.
To celebrate the 500th performance since 2004, one play, written and directed by Morag Fullarton, CASABLANCA,THE GIN JOINT CUT was chosen for revival.
First performed in 2010, this little gem is a spoof and also homage to the 1942 film. It’s been performed at the Edinburgh Festival, in London and Paris ( with its original cast of three – Gavin Mitchell, Jimmy Chisholm and Claire Waugh).
When I saw the play for the first time this year, I knew nothing about it. I came away completely captivated with Morag Fullarton’s writing and the performances of Mitchell, Waugh and Kevin Lennon (replacing Chisholm).
The three performers play all the parts – brilliantly. Gavin Mitchell is ‘Rick’, Kevin Lennon is Ugarte, Lazlo and Renault and Claire Waugh is Ilsa- and Major Strasser! Costume changes are minimal but convey whatever character they are playing.
Much of the original dialogue is used. There’s action and laughs . Of course the story is condensed but the three performers are simply superb.Sound effects and music add great atmosphere.
Oran Mor has a small stage area and one of the funniest scenes involves the scene where Rick says the famous line, “Play it,Sam.”
Only what we see is a small wooden Sam sitting at a tiny piano! ( singing ‘As Time Goes By’ of course).
We all got to sing along to ‘La Marseillaise’!
So many funny touches – a watering can is handy when Rick reads Ilsa’s farewell letter at the Paris station!
And when Rick and Renault watch the plane leaving with Lazlo and Ilsa, Rick says the immortal words about a beautiful friendship – and they both duck as the sound of the plane is heard above them!
The play was well received in Paris . I know a New York engagement was a possibility but I don’t think it happened.
The Oran Mor, in the west end of Glasgow. ‘Oran Mor’ meaning ‘great music’, was originally a church built in 1862 before becoming a music and theatrical venue.
To Scottish audiences, Gavin Mitchell is known for playing Boaby the barman in the hit comedy tv series, “Still Game”.
Gavin has the Bogart look and his accent is spot-on.
The applause at the end of the show was roof shattering! I wish I could convey just how funny this play is and how skilfully it is done with just a cast of three on a small stage ( the Oran Mor only seats about 200). I wish I had discovered it sooner.
All I can say is – and I admit to quoting from one review – if it comes your way, don’t miss it – you might regret it, maybe not today………..
The real thing.