Review: The Moira Monologues

Alan Bissett's character returns from Falkirk for another outing of the hit show

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 05 Aug 2018
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The Moira Monologues

Too often we (and by trying to land all reviewers in this habit, I of course mean just me) say that a performer "breathes life" into a character. Not so with Moira Bell: she's already live and kicking, a fully fledged woman from the brain of performer and writer Alan Bissett, and an absolute joy to spend time with.

At first glance, the cigarette dangled in the crook of her hand, and the hip popped in a pair of formidable thigh-high boots paint a cariacature of tough-as-nails working-class women. What singles out The Moira Monologues from lazier contemporaries, though, is the sincerity Bissett brings to his character. Moira's not a screeching crone or to be poked fun at. Her world is fully formed.

Bissett's monologues don't centre in on any life-changing moment, either. Rather, it's the nuances of everyday life which are captured in Moira's broad Scots accent. As somebody who doesn't understand the grasping need to be something more, it's Moira's quotidian activities that are allowed to draw focus.

Granted, a brief reminiscence on romance lost feels somewhat rote, and it's a shame within a series of fresh tales to find anything that comes off as predictable. Bissett uses this hurt and puts it to good use later, enabling the audience to see growth without any momentous occasion. This is her life, take it or leave it. And with jokes peppered through Bissett's spirited performance, the audience are more than happy to take it.