Review: Yer Granny, The Kings Theatre, Glasgow

Yer Granny Review will be published in June’s edition of The Student Advertiser.

It had been a long, long week. Still highly strung by the kind of ‘recreational guilt’ that goes hand-in-hand with exams – and doesn’t usually wear off immediately after – I fought my way through the intensely over-populated Foyer at the Kings Theatre, still inundated with thoughts of 18th Century Poetry and hopes for a goodnight’s sleep. Before arriving here, I had gathered two things about my evening ahead:

  1. I was grossly misinformed when told, “We’re going to see ‘Yer Granny’.” My granny does not live in The Kings Theatre.
  2. Rab C. Nesbit would be wearing an apron and a wig, but in no way resemble my own grandmother.

Sitting down, I found myself mesmerised by the accuracy of the set. Yer Granny is set in 1970s Scotland – which the audience were able to determine just by looking at the stage. Before us was a home, a very 70s home. I spied a cream radio, a geometrically patterned rug, a rounded SMEG fridge-freezer, an orange coloured settee and bookshelves that crippled under the weight of oddly shaped ornaments. The highest points of the yellow, hexagonal wallpaper were blackened by nicotine and through a window, just barely visible on stage, a neon Fish and Chip Shop sign flickered with life.

119The play follows the Russo family’s struggle to survive alongside their “diabolical” 100-year-old Granny (played by Gregor Fisher) who is eating them out of a house and home. The cast is composed of what one might recognise as the “Scottish A-Team”, featuring Paul Riley of Still Game and Angela Rafferty, Brian Pettifer and Gregor Fisher of Rab C Nesbit. Each cast member represents the fundamental pillars of a Scottish family, not only in the 70s, but today as well.

You have the 17-year-old party-goer who, despite ultimately causing the deaths of three people, remains to be her father’s “pet lamb”; the father-figure (Cammy – played by Jonathan Watson), the bread-winner wholeheartedly against signing onto the brew; the sensible mother figure attempting to hold it all together; the uncle who refuses to work; the aunt (Barbara Rafferty) who is trying to rekindle a love from her youth; the chip shop owner from across the road who is responsible for putting the Russo family’s takeaway out of business, despite admitting to the unthinkable – watering down his sauces with vinegar; and the grandmother, the glue and heart of the family who is also the sole reason for their spiralled downfall.

Yer Granny is a laugh-a-minute production. The lively audience relished in the realities of their beloved lifestyle, cackling as the precious values of modern day Scots were re-enacted before our eyes on stage. Filled to the brim with exclusively Scottish vocabulary, the performance was unintentionally patriotic and heart-warming, reinstating the value of family in a Scottish society. Laughter filled the streets as theatre-goers left the venue repeating their favourite lines, in no way rushing to forget the exceptional performance they had just witnessed.109

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