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Juicy Fruits (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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Ostensibly, Leo Butler’s Juicy Fruits, is about two women sharing lattes and pastries  after a gap of six years, although it’s really about motherly love.  It is one of a trilogy of world premiers under the title, A Play, a Pie and a Pint presented by Paines Plough and Oran Mor.
The pie, donated by Greenhalgh’s Bakery, is delicious and I substitute wine for the pint. However, the play itself is initially bland and ultimately unpalatable.
Lorna is the archetypical housewife coping with a one-year-old baby whilst the world has, apparently, been Nina’s oyster. The latter has just returned from working with Orang-utans in Borneo. Her rude remarks soon test their friendship.It is obvious that she is jealous of Lorna and we soon discover why. Something happened in that faraway jungle that changed Nina and we follow her return and see its effect.
Although billed a comedy, this play has very little humour. Denise Hoey’s Nina is irritating and immature. At the supposedly shocking ending, you feel little sympathy. Sadly, Clare Waugh’s home loving Lorna is no better. What mother would go for a walk leaving her child with the psychopathic Nina who violently rocks his pram?
Ben Winger plays Nina’s drip of a boyfriend. He says “We’re making a difference!” Well, not to me mate, as the characters are unreal and the plot unconvincing.
Scott Twynholme’s haunting music is lovely though and comes as a blessed relief from the prattling of these childish people.
At least the production gives you food for thought.
- Julia Taylor


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