Review: Madame George by Keir McAllister- Gilded Balloon Patterhoose, Doonstairs

Madame George is a moving piece of theatre capturing our desperate and often fragile attempts to cling on to loved ones who are no longer with us. 

The performance follows the story of Agnes, our delusional, clairvoyant protagonist who is carrying on her deceased mother’s psychic legacy as ‘Madame George’ connecting her customers to their dearly departed. Through interactions with her only client and neighbour Mr Doyle, we learn Agnes’ struggle to cope with her mother’s passing and see how her supposed talents in communicating with the afterlife are merely feeble attempts to deal with her own grief. 

Jo Jo Sutherland’s portrayal of Agnes is cooky and at times over the top but this adds to the complexity of her character as the audience can recognise her many flaws but still find themselves rooting for her- a testament to Sutherland’s performance. 

Mr Doyle played by Paul Sneddon provides the perfect antidote to the foibles of Madame George. Sneddon characterises the typical Scottish pub dweller who is down to earth and caring. The relationship between Doyle and Agnes feels warm and there is a fondness there despite the pair’s often terse interactions. 

The real triumph of the performance comes from the live score, composed and performed by Scottish multi-instrumentalist DaveBeMac. Playing melancholic guitar riffs throughout, the soundtrack captures and builds on the overall mood of the play. 

Unfortunately, the performance given by Jay Lafferty at times felt forced, tending to use volume as a substitute for genuine emotion when conveying moments of upset or anger. Driving the show to the twist that brings the play to its climactic conclusion, Lafferty does help build the momentum of the piece but at times, her interactions with the other characters fall flat. 

Overall, Madame George offers a glimpse into the wacky world of psychics, providing easy laughs for an enjoyable afternoon play. 

Madame George by Keir McAllister is at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose – Doonstairs at 1pm until the 26th

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