Alan Bissett in More Moira Monologues

(More) Moira Monologues

Ye dinnae huv to be fae Fawkirk to pish your pants at this yin.

If you don’t get that sentence, you could struggle with the dialect in this show. But not much.

It’s Lowland Scots, Falkirkus Hallglenia Vulgaris variety. But there were Canadians in the audience who, although they admitted it took them a while to get into the groove, joined the rest of the audience in belly-bursting, raucous laughter at this pitch-perfect, bawdy, earthy, honest and genre-breaking show.

Bisset, male, author. Plays Moira, female, cleaner. Completely straight.

No affectation, feminine or effeminate slant. It’s an astounding androgynous sleight of hand, and he shows off his impeccable mimicry, movement and unerringly fantastic comedy timing throughout this stunning hour of entertainment.

It’s brutal, gut-wringing stuff at times, but it’s very fine, it’s very, very true, and because of all that, it’s total comic genius.

Moira is older than when we first met her in the original monologues and, now in her (debatably) early forties, is a Granny. Or a grannie. But as she herself confesses, she’s still “fuckin’ hot”.

All the same, there are signs of emotional wear and tear. Her wee dug Pepe has passed on, her man’s fucked off, and she’s reflecting on her own, and her friends progress, or lack of it. And she’s always skint. But always enough set aside for a voddy and a wee bit of blow.

The show is deeply confessional, but still light as a meringue, and all at the same time, covers acres, hectares of difficult, sensitive and tricky ground.

This ranges from Scottish Independence, delightfully exposed in a vodka-slugging train journey revelation with Clive from Hampshire, to immigration and homelessness, to the regeneration of Falkirk from the (highly rated) Kelpies to the (shite) Falkirk Wheel, and confessional insight into what’s really in a Falkirk Salad.

Moira’s one-word put-downs of Glasgow and Edinburgh are worth the price of admission alone.

Moira takes no shit from anyone. But in her story of being gradually bled of her Bingo winnings by a refugee family, and her reluctant gift of a bicycle to a 14-year old tealeaf, she reveals her basic big-hearted decency, her latent xenophobia, her foul bloody mooth, and her True North moral compass. She voted naw, but she’s a real Scot.

From her journey to the wilds of Inverness to her fateful venture to clean inside another woman’s house (who unknown to her, is now inside her former partner’s pants) is an acid-etched comic copperplate, and as with all of the characters that Bisset effortlessly brings to life, the mannerisms, facial expressions and body language are all burnt onto the retina with stunning clarity.

The boy can act, and Moira is a real, credible, tangible and unforgettable force on stage.

It’s late in the run in Edinburgh, but you must go to see this. If not here, somewhere else, and soon. In a perfect size and shape of venue in the Storytelling Centre for such a direct, powerful address to an audience, the performance envelops you, cuddles you, and also rips your guts with earthy laughs, but still manages to shock and unsettle.

You’ll pish yersel’ laughing. You will fucking love it, and you’ll pity those who missed it.

Go. Go. Go.

5 Stars

Click to book tickets for this show
The Scottish StoryTelling Centre (Venue 30)
Aug 3-28, 1 hour.

About David Petherick

David Petherick is the owner and publisher of and was born in, and lives, in Edinburgh. He is a writer, marketer and tweeter and is also a LinkedIn Profile Doctor. Follow @edinburghfest for festival news and updates and @petherick for personal news and views.

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