Kiss Me Honey, Honey Gilded Balloon

Grant Stott and Andy Gray are well known for their comic partnership in the annual Christmas panto at the Kings and this new play, written by Phillip Meek, is tailor made for them and their comedic style. It’s an hilarious farce which will make you laugh out loud and send you home with a smile on your face. There are some moments of pathos but it’s not particularly thought provoking or deep and the comedy far outweighs any tragedy in the piece. Gray and Stott play Ross and Graham, two very different middle aged men, brought together by circumstances of divorce and bereavement to live in adjoining rooms in a grim lodging house run by the formidable Mrs Docherty.

They discover a shared love of Shirley Bassey, whose music provided a backdrop to their childhoods and her songs are played at appropriate moments throughout the play. The men’s friendship develops as we follow their disastrous attempts to find love and happiness again. We join them in an hilarious speed dating session at the Burke and Hare with its clientele of grotesques and join Graham on his first date with a minute minister with strange alfresco nocturnal habits. They meet the mysterious Pepper Tiptree and each thinks they have met the woman of their dreams. However, all is not as it seems, and the plot thickens. In fact, the plot becomes totally farcical which I suppose isn’t too surprising (given that it is a farce!) All of these weird and wonderful characters are played to perfection by Gray and Stott themselves with quickfire wig changes, accents and mannerisms, skills honed by their years of panto experience. They have other facets to their characters too, and Gray in particular is able to show the sadder side of the alcoholic and pathetically lonely Ross. I felt this humour to pathos element could have been developed a bit further, with a wee bit less panto and comedy gurning at some moments.

After a series of revelations and plot twists, we are left with a happy ending and the packed house showed their appreciation of some fine comedy magic.

Irene Brownlee