The Brothers’ Keeper @ Oran Mor
Woah, this is good stuff. The last official show before the summer season of classic play re-workings at Òran Mór, Peter MacDougall’s Brothers is a Bible-black belter of a comedy. Initially, the set-up is not the most obvious choice for laughs: a wake in Glasgow, where three brothers tentatively waltz with their sister, all awkwardly reunited for their father’s funeral.
But this is humour as coping mechanism and although it has the most minimal storyline, deadpan Finlay played by Dave Anderson, immature alcoholic Murphy (William MacBain), scene stealing stoic, sassy Kathleen (Barbara Rafferty) and neurotic John Joe (Sean Scanlan) are perfectly in step throughout.
The dialogue is earthy poetry with the kind of early morning clarity that jolts you out of nightmares and into cold sweats, and as the siblings’ bickering reaches a crescendo, the seeming differences in personality begin to blur as their drinks get cloudy with bad blood, amid the realisation they have all messed up. But there are some lovely tender moments too – the resigned weary family singalong is absolutely hilarious.
Still, more questions than answers remain – a slap in the face for happy denouements, with MacDougall’s insistence that there are only two real certainties in life – that a) we are all just children wearing adults’ skin and b) one day, everything ends.