Review: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity, Traverse, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Festival 2013: A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity at the Traverse Theatre is rude but delightful, says Mark Brown.

How to review A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity, Douglas Maxwell’s ribald comedy, for a family website? Certainly, one cannot quote from the colourful vernacular of Jim Dick (the Lanarkshire worker, named as if in a Carry On film), which so fascinates Annabelle Love, the titular woman of means and manners (and Jim’s new boss at Love Logistics).

However, if one is prepared to hear some four-letter words in a comic context, this short breakfast play, transferred to Edinburgh from the acclaimed lunchtime theatre at Glasgow’s Oran Mór and directed by the Traverse’s artistic director Orla O’Loughlin, is a definite rib-tickler.

When Jim commits a bawdy, post-funeral faux pas, Annabelle seizes upon it with the excitement of schoolgirl. What, she wants to know, are the meanings of these old, Anglo-Saxon oaths? In what contexts can they be used?

The unlikely pair (played in perfect comic contrast by Scott Fletcher and Joanna Tope) meet for fast food and football, as Annabelle tries, hilariously and touchingly, to reconnect with the working-class roots of her beloved, recently deceased husband. Maxwell has written a little comic gem, even if it will not be to everyone’s taste.

Until Aug 24. Tickets: 0131 228 1404;

This review was originally published on the website of the Daily Telegraph on August 15 , 2013:

© Mark Brown


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