Theatre review: Good Things, Saughtonhall Church

Giving their all: The chemistry between actors helps the production sparkle

Giving their all: The chemistry between actors helps the production sparkle

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CHARITY shop volunteer, Susan Love, is not unlike the second-hand clothes and bric-a-brac found in her place of work.

Lying on the shelf gathering dust, she’s unwanted and a bit bland, the sort of person whose life is about as exciting as a clothes rack full of musty, grey knitted jumpers.

Worse, she’s literally screaming towards 50, her ex-husband’s left her for a woman half his age, and her only chance of finding love is via speed dating.

If anyone needs a solution to their mid-life crisis, it’s her.

Written by Liz Lochhead, Good Things is a peculiar piece in the sense that it doesn’t actually have much of a story. Focusing on the recently redundant Love, the lengthy 180-minute play draws much of its humour and bittersweet entertainment from the many weird and wonderful characters that come in and out the shop.

There’s Fraser (Colin Mitchell), the camp as Christmas shop assistant; Marjorie (Liz Swinburne), the interfering busybody who runs the shop; David (Gavin Watson), the unlikely love interest; and regular customer Scotch Doris (Betty Meston), a pain in the bum who just so happens to have all the best lines.

Performed and produced by Saughtonhall Drama Group – winners of the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Evening News Drama Award – the stage set is so impressively imagined, you might actually think you’re in a charity shop. A few actors forgot their lines in places; however, even most full-time professional actors would have their work cut out tackling such an over- extended amount of dialogue. The real beauty, though, lies in the chemistry between the actors. And you certainly can’t buy that for 50p.

Playing the lead role, Chris Mitchell gives the impression she might be Susan Love in real life. Her character’s fate may be a bit predictable and a tad Cinderella-esque, nevertheless it’s to her credit that she remains the centre of attention despite so many talented actors around her.

A show that knows who it’s appealing to; just like all charity shops, give Good Things a chance and you just might discover a little piece of treasure.

Run ends Saturday

Rating: ***