Baby It’s Cold Outside
The Mac Theatre, Belfast
The Mac, everything on top, hold the ketchup, fries, diet coke, add a double side-order of laughs, a tricksy touch of sentiment, a smidgen, a bludgeon of male ignorance and the best seats in the house! Yes, we’re watching Brenda Murphy’s recent outing of her prolific playwriting.
First performed at the Belfast Feile, Belfast’s King of political comedic and hard-hitting thatre, Martin Lynch, picks up Baby It’s Cold Outside and runs a country mile with his astute direction. This GBL production, run by Joe Rea, set design by Niall Rea and the brilliant staff of the MAC make this the perfect night out/in/out/in… Jesus, we’re all conflicted by the end of the show.
The plot is simple…ish: three lesbians stuck up a mountain, one eight-and-a-half months pregnant, receive a visit from the sperm donor, Joe. Panic, mania and a wrestle between and betwixt pregnancy manuals and Rod Stewart albums incur. Brandy, a sexy American, a man hating lover, a Fall’s Road lesbian, the hurl and even Peppa Pig gets a mention. If your belly doesn’t hurt from laughing during this play I can’t believe you’re human.
The set is a throw back to the fifties, apart from the aforementioned Rod CDs, this beautifully designed stage brings a soothing normality to the drama between its walls. We get a delivery, we get surprise, twists and turns like a rabid disco-dancing serpent, sentiment, sadness, sweetness and sincerity by the bucket, what more could one ask for?
Reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise, the actors cannot help but laugh as they deliver their lines. I don’t know how long they’ve been rehearsing this play, but to an audience it’s a delight to watch performers struggle with the next line throbbing in mouth, knowing it will split their sides: another credit to the playwright.
The female cast consists of Jo Donnelly of Forget Turkey and Lynch’s Chronicles of Longkesh fame, Kerri Quinn, another Lynch favourite playing Angie Best in the hit Dancing shoes and Tanya Thompson, co-founder of Dublin’s ‘The Company’ playing the ‘American’ Miranda all in their own way shine with equal shimmer. But, and it’s a small but, it’s perhaps the milk in the cats’ saucer, Joe, played by Kevin Elliot, who surprisingly in a show which on the surface is about lesbians who steals the show. Flummoxed at every turn by the worldly covens’ wit and intelligence, his role is that of inspired writing and throughout the play it’s Murphy’s joy of irony, status shifts and revelations which keeps a full theatre on the edge of their seats.
Outside, both at the interval, and especially after two curtain calls, it’s truly magical to listen to the response of a most grateful crowd. Murphy, never one to hob-nob or play to the suits is found having a rollie and yarning with all and sundry after the show.
The Feile, The Mac, put money on that this play with follow other GBL hits to the Opera House and beyond. Put simply, theatre at its triumphantly funny best.
Baby It’s Cold Outside runs until February 9th
For booking details contact the MAC on 02890535053 or visit themaclive.com
4 out of 5 Nerds