Review: Maggie Yer Ma! at the Grand Opera House, Belfast

Caroline Curran on stage this week in Maggie Yer Ma! Picture by Brian Thompson/ Grand Opera House
Jane Hardy

AT the premiere of Maggie Muff’s latest theatrical adventure before a packed Grand Opera House, we learnt that our heroine had finally used her surname to genuinely productive use.

By having a daughter named (of course) Prosecco.

Caroline Curran remains one of the most talented actors around. After Maggie Yer Ma!’s great singalong opening soundtrack, we met Maggie, older if not wiser, her cute daughter, big Sally Ann (with echoes of Kathy Burke) and the rest of the crew. Somehow Ms Curran peoples the stage and you forget this is a one-woman show. Ms Harker remains the Oscar Wilde of East Belfast, although at times I felt the action in the first half was a tad static.

But there were stacks of great moments in the build-up to the great Shebeen’s Got Talent evening. Maggie and her observations remain crude, cheering and oddly life-enhancing.

When discussing her lack of romantic action owing to partner Billy’s incarceration, she compared her erotic inactivity to the current political stalemate.

"It’s like a kitchen at Stormont", she declared with typical broad expression and gesture downwards.

"Dry!". This got a gale of laughter, as did the birth sequence.

The physical comedy is always spot on and Ms Curran does things to a sofa you wouldn’t believe. Andrea Montgomery's direction was skilful.

In fact, some of the most successful sequences came when Leesa Harker strayed into territory just outside the purely personal and you wonder if she may venture into Give My Head Peace territory soon.

As one spectator said to me afterwards, "It was wonderful, like meeting an old friend again. I use those phrases and it takes me back".

That has to be the secret of Maggie Muff, a franchise that’s gone to Australia and the rest of the UK, continuing success.

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