Charity shop setting for Liz Lochhead play

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A CHARITY shop is probably the last place most would associate with scintillating drama. Happily, the author of charity shop-set comedy Good Things is Scots makar Liz Lochhead.

Predictably, her play about the trials and tribulations of a humble volunteer worker struck a chord when it was picked up by Edinburgh’s Saughtonhall Drama Group.

Indeed, the play appealed so much that the group decided to perform it.

We meet protagonist Susan Love as she is about to turn 50. Recently made redundant, she has just learned her ex-husband is about to re-marry.

The story features a large number of characters who come into the shop, some more often than others. Unusually, the characters are played by different members of the group, even those more used to working behind the scenes.

“It was really an interesting play to do,” says technical director Mark Kirkbride. “There are quite a lot of parts which gave all of our members an opportunity to come on stage and perform. If you think about it, in a charity shop you have people who donate goods and people who buy them. They are often very different sorts, so you have quite a wide range of interesting characters to work with.

“It was a big challenge, particularly for the people who normally work backstage, but everyone was happy to do it.

“I have to take on the role of rather unempathetic police inspector,” he laughs. “Definitely a challenge for me.”

The group will perform the play next week at its Saughtonhall Church base.

In an interesting twist, the stage set will open as a real-life shop when the curtain falls on the last show, with audience members invited on stage to browse and meet “staff”.

Proceeds from the sale of props will go to city-based charity Fresh Start, which helps homeless people settle in a new home.

“There will be some pretty interesting stuff,” says Kirkbride. “We actually managed to find a record player that works. Things that play LPs aren’t that common these days so were glad to get that.

“We also had to find a working till, which we got on eBay,” he adds. “Anyone who wants that is welcome to it too.”

Good Things, Saughtonhall Church, Saughtonhall Drive, Wednesday -Friday, 7.30pm, Saturday, 2.30pm, £5-£6, 0131-539 0491