Moira in Lockdown
Alan Bissett / Sacha Kyle
Scottish Storytelling Centre
They say can't keep a good woman down, and in the case of Moira Bell, Falkirk's finest lass, it's even harder to keep her in once place. But that's exactly what has happened, what with the pandemic looming and a lockdown in place. Between Zoom calls and cheap vodka, it's all Moira can do to keep her sanity about her.
It's been over a decade since Alan Bissett first brought the straight-talking and delightfully working class Scottish folk hero to the stage in The Moira Monologues, and then returned her, older, wiser and even more sarcastic in 2017 with (More) Moira Monologues. It's fitting, then, that Moira's story should return, to comment on the bizarre madness of the last few years, spinning a tale from the first days of panic-buying, right through to the current day, commenting on it all between draws on an invisible cigarette.
There's always a risk with looking at recent history, and there are a few moments in Moira in Lockdown where the concept threatens to stray towards becoming twee, or too close for comfort, but as has been proven time and again, Bissett has a natural comic timing and charisma which ensure the pace never slacks or gets bogged down. As to the subject matter, the witty observations of the mundanity of lockdown are all familiar enough to be keenly felt, while still dryly observed and hysterically funny.
If the show has a flaw, it's that the pacing of the vignettes feels a little awkward as it moves towards the finish, seeming to come to a close then continuing on. But more of a good thing isn't exactly a crime. Aside from that, there were a couple of technical glitches, what with this being only the second night of the run, and these will undoubtedly be ironed out, leaving only Moira, in all her glory, beckoning you into the Falkirkian experience.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan