Extra Review: The Steamie, Govanhill Baths

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There’s a clean and clear reason as to why The Steamie has captured the affections of so many Glaswegians.

The Tony Roper play has been delighting audiences since 1987 and, having caught the show for the first time at Govanhill Baths (in the old steamie, no less) I finally understand.

An older crowd than usual took up the invitation from the Govanhill Theatre Group — ever proving themselves to be an exciting troupe making full use of the space afforded by the derelict baths — on opening night.

It’s testament to the draw of The Steamie, of course — but also of the venue; atmospheric and evocative of old Glasgow.

Knowing laughs erupt with every joke; we’ve heard it all before of course, either first hand or from our mothers or our grannies - which is precisely why The Steamie is so well loved, and why it’s a shrewd choice for a dramatics group appealing to theatre fans across the board.

The opening night wasn’t word perfect — but who needs that when you have the patter to cover it up?

The cast of five have obviously been working hard together, and the chemistry between them shows; Margaret Burns shines as the doddery Mrs Culfeathers, Alison May (Dolly) and Marianne Boyle (Doreen) prove to have great comic timing and Anne-Marie Feeney (Magrit) delivers a soliloquy on the life of women which — as well as raising a question about how little has changed — is sure to bring a lump to your throat.

Robert William Radcliffe’s brief appearances — as handyman Andy — are laugh-a-minute gems, especially after Andy has sampled the carry out of every woman working away at the steamie.

Much like Mrs Culfeathers, I don’t know whether it’s the mince or the tatties — but Govanhill’s trip down memory lane is a welcome dose of nostalgia which Glasgow couldn’t hope to resist.

The Steamie runs at the Govanhill Baths steamie (entrance on Kingarth Street) until July 26 — performances at 7.45pm. Tickets are £10/£8 from 433 2999 or www.brownpapertickets.com.