PPP: Chic Murray: A Funny Place For A Window

Apr 9 2019 | By More

★★★★☆  Fitting tribute

Traverse Theatre: Tue 9 – Sat13 Apr2019
Review by Hugh Simpson

As you might expect, there are plenty of laughs in Chic Murray: A Funny Place For A Window. What is less expected is a touching and beautifully acted love story.

The first in the new Play, Pie and a Pint series tells the story of ‘the comedian’s comedian,’ Greenock-born Chic Murray and his sometime wife and showbiz partner Maidie Dickson. ‘The Tall Droll and The Small Doll’ are evoked through excerpts from Murray’s trademark routines, music and scenes from their life together and apart.

Dave Anderson, Brian James O’Sullivan and Maureen Carr. Pic Lesley Black

Anyone who has ever tried to repeat any of Murray’s material – variously described as absurdism, Scottish surrealism or consequentially inconsequential – will know how much of their impact depends on his peerless delivery.

Play, Pie and a Pint stalwart Dave Anderson – who has some claim to be regarded as a Scottish comedy legend himself – has a pretty good stab at reproducing this, aided of course by a trademark bunnet.

While many in the audience are undoubtedly there to hear the jokes one more time, Stuart Hepburn’s script is surprisingly heavy on melancholy. It is not much of a spoiler to say that the play is bookended by the last day of Murray’s life, and there is considerable pathos in the way the relationship between Murray and Dickson is portrayed.

This does threaten at times to slide into mawkish sentimentality, but is always pulled back by another joke, as well as being given considerable gravitas by the performances of Anderson and of Maureen Carr as Maidie. Hepburn’s welcome tendency to show rather than tell also helps.

carefully structured

As well as a carefully structured script, Hepburn provides the sure-footed direction in a production that is admirably put together. This is in no small part due to the endlessly versatile Brian James O’Sullivan, who provides all the other roles as well as acting as musical director.

Even in Scotland, Murray remains far more obscure than many of those he influenced, and this play works very well as a tribute, as well as being a well-crafted piece in its own right.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED
Tuesday 9– Saturday 13 April 2019
Daily at 1pm; Also Fri eve at 7pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Dave Anderson with Brian James O’Sullivan and Maureen Carr. Pic Lesley Black

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  1. PPP for BBC Scotland : All Edinburgh Theatre.com | Sep 1 2019