"Where would we be," says ingenuous strongman Goliath, "without people to say, 'Blimey! Look! The world's fillin' up with bollocks!'?" Unfortunately, by the point at which he says it, Lyndon Morgans' play has come close to doing just that.
Morgans has a fine ear for mundane vulgarity: the first dialogues between three tarts in this early '60s seaside town, and the eloquent filth throughout of David Ryall's besotted elderly hot-dog salesman Albert Jug, are smuttily effervescent. But this is all that buoys up his thin plot (Albert's foredoomed infatuation with dominatrix Monique, and his attempt to win her by composing the musical suite of the title), and once the script tries to move from profane to profound it founders.
Liz Estensen and (in particular) Lynda Baron supply a fine pair of ageing, stoical pros, and Dervla Kirwan makes a good fist of Monique even during a wincesome drunken dialogue-with-self scene. Moggie Douglas's tatty-fairground design and Jonathan Whitehead's varispeeding calliope score emphasise the quaintness and transience of the age – properly understated in the script – when people were still having it so good. But Morgans' play never attains the watercolour-Philip-Ridley atmosphere it seems to aspire to; you always know where the ghost-train will end up.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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