Northern Ireland news

Review: Maggie's Feg Run - A fun finale for Maggie Muff

Caroline Curran is centre-stage as Maggie Muff in Maggie's Feg Run at the Grand Opera House. Picture by Elaine Hill Photography.
Jane Hardy


Maggie's Feg Run

Grand Opera House

Until February 5

Maggie's Feg Run comes across as a version of Sex and the City. The city, of course, is Belfast, and our heroine, created by Leesa Harker, is the much-loved and potty-mouthed Maggie Muff.

This is Maggie's third or fourth outing and you sense it could be her swansong. But as fans - and there were many in the nearly full Grand Opera House on Monday night - would expect, La Muff doesn't leave without a deal of ooh la la, Buckfast, bucking and well, general mayhem.

The trip to Benidorm affords the dramatist some fun via the excesses of holiday-makers; a super set involving two ginormous flip flops make the point.

There are men, naturally, including the obligatory come-hither waiter. There is Maggie's best friend, the hilarious Sally-Ann with the modest voice and immodest ideas. And there is the fact these women behave as men do, on the whole, which is kind of liberating.

Unsurprisingly, the audience is 90 per cent female although there were some men, including Julian Simmons, enjoying the jokes.

It's pretty rude and explicit and a middle-aged couple sitting near me quit before the end.

But this drama, directed by Andrea Montgomery and part of the very accessible school of women-centred theatre pioneered by the great Marie Jones (who is a lot more complex) and writers such as Donna O'Connor of A Night with George fame, is also life-enhancing.

What was interesting in the second half of Maggie's Feg Run, after our heroine had exhausted all the naughtiness associated with the sun, sea and s-e-x routine, was the reintroduction of the 50 Shades character, Mr Red, White and Blue.

He has migrated, with posh accent, via EL James's novel and Ms Harker's Northern Irish adaptation from what is really a story of abuse, not love.

Now Maggie, who still has the hots for him, finally recognises the guy for what he is. Nasty and misogynist, beating up poor Deirdre, the woman he has taken on holiday to the same resort.

I am not sure the switch in tone to feminist, then happy ending entirely worked and remember noting the same problem when Fifty Shades of Red, White and Blue premiered at The MAC - the hen parties understandably went on giggling after the situation had ceased to be funny.

We had a little bit of the same problem here but Caroline Curran remains an acting genius, peopling the stage with men, women, big Sally-Ann, Sticky Vicky (don't ask...) and humour.

The Muff franchise remains fun.

Jane Hardy

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