Fringe Online 2020
A woman, of a certain age, after 40 years of marriage, gives thanks to her dachshund, talks of her husband Jim, the man with a ruling culture and a hatred of the rules that should apply to himself. Betty gives us an insight to her life in solitude, within lockdown and never out with the “influence” of her man, with a twist in the tale comes with what she needs to do once lockdown is over.
Janey Godley is an exceptional presence in Scotland. With a niche market in revoicing the First Minister’s pronouncements on COVID-19 she has even the endorsement of the first Minister herself – all apart from the bad language, allegedly. Nicola Sturgeon in one interview spoke of how Godley has the uncanny knack of being able to get inside her mind and often able to voice what Sturgeon may actually be thinking.
This solo piece tells us why.
I ken women like Betty. I am old enough to have seen women who have invested the best of who they are into a relationship with a man who will “reorganize” their handbags as by right. Godley as writer gives Betty an exceptionally subtle run down of her life from her son Stephen’s life in Soho to why married women alone should never be seen there. There is the unspoken nature of her son’s friendship with Martin, with whom she lives in a job “wi nae pen and nae stamp card” so Jim thinks it is not a real job, him working in art. And the legacy that came from her mother because Jim was “a nice man with a proper job”
There is a complete authenticity as Godley has the knowingness as well as the power, as a performer, to allow the message to trickle into the flood. That flood is a hope that Jim is now 6 foot under the patio. The twist at the end is however equally subtle and though I might boak at sharing ma tea wi ma dug, it’s an exceptional tale told, by some wuman. And mair women should get some men tae watch.