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Theatre Review: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity

Lorna Irvine is charmed by a comedic parade of profanities.

Like Pygmalion in reverse, Douglas Maxwell's new play for Oran Mor and the Traverse upends familiar theatre troupes and tickles them into submission.

The delightful duo of Joanna Tope as Annabelle, the widow of the title, and Scott Fletcher as young upstart Jim has real chemistry in a small but effective comedy of an unlikely friendship. Glamorous but prim Annabelle's husband Joseph has just died. Jim worked for him, although in what capacity it is never made clear. They bond over Jim's accidental bursts of swearing (he's nervous at funerals) and then the lady learns how to express her grief through the catharsis of obscenities, taught by the lad.

The scenes are played out in little bursts, emulating the Tourette-like explosions of curses, and there are some howlingly funny and astute observations in gradations of offensiveness and the way that we communicate to fit in with our peers. But when Jim takes the gauche widow to a football match in order for her to let rip, she goes a tad too far, breaking one of the ultimate taboos.

A Respectable Widow is sweet, warm and cuddly, in spite of the torrent of swear words, and if you'd like to learn the difference between 'dick' and 'prick' you could do a lot worse.

No shit.

Tags: theatre

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