Edinburgh Fringe 2012
The groom’s a ned, the best main’s in jail, the bridesmaids have tans that make them look like breaded haddocks and his daughter is about to embrace this crowd into the bosom of his family. Malcolm is at his wits end. They’re all Weegies!
One of the joys of the Fringe is the range of performing arts cultures one can sample. But sometimes it’s nice to see something with a real local flavour and this monologue from Robin Cairns’ is studded with characters and caricatures from both the upper echelons of Edinburgh society and those further down the societal ladder, who just happen to hail from Auld Reekie’s more prosaic sister city, Glasgow.
Malcolm lives in Morningside. He’s the sort of man that’s allergic to Leith and holds in high disregard anything or anyone that hails from the west of Waitrose in Stockbridge. So you can imagine his horror when he finds that the ned who’d followed him home one evening turns out to be his only daughter’s boyfriend. And, what’s more, they’ve announced their intention to tie the knot. Could he, in all honesty, let his daughter marry this Weegie? It would be a mixed marriage for heavens’ sake – bride from Edinburgh, groom from Glasgow.
Now, for those of you not from these parts, perhaps a word or two of translation is merited at this point. Morningside is the posh part of Edinburgh, where people like Malcolm think that ‘sex’ is something that the coal gets delivered in (say it out loud, you’ll get the drift). Leith is a district of Edinburgh held to be at the sleazier end of the spectrum by any self-respecting Morningsider. And ‘Weegie’ is the mildly disparaging term referring to someone from Glasgow.
His daughter’s big day arrives but Malcolm simply can’t walk her up the aisle. The best man is in jail, the bridesmaids have tans that make them look like a pair of breaded haddock and the groom’s father has more tattoos than you get at the Festival. It takes strong arm tactics from Kate, Malcolm’s surprisingly down to earth wife, to restore sanity to the situation.
Cairns’ wonderfully evocative monologue plays brilliantly on the snobbishness inherent in parts of Edinburgh society and neatly parodies the city’s centuries old rivalry with Glasgow. His characters are beautifully formed and he has an exquisite ear for the nuances of both Glasgow and Edinburgh accents and the respective local patois. His well researched and intensely amusing dialogue is laced with double entendre, innuendo and some superb one-liners. The story is very skillfully woven together with the disparate threads conjoining in what can only be described as an uproarious conclusion that involves a thug from the west end, a bundle of used twenties and some surprising revelations about Malcolm’s true origins.
Cairns has followed up his successful 2011 Fringe offering with another absolute wee gem of a show, one that is part of the Free Fringe. Deservedly packed to the gunnels, there was a great atmosphere – it’s a show well worth making time to see. And the antics of that lovely little man from Pilton are well worth watching out for.