Mary Go Nowhere: a bleak Californian satire

Mary Go Nowhere is a new play written by and starring Julie Shavers as the titular character. It was workshopped with Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel in the US prior to its Fringe debut. The stellar cast includes Shavers’ real-life husband Daniel O’Brien as her fictional husband Elmo, Chris Grace ludicrously playing their three-year-old son, and a marvellous supporting turn from the great Mike McShane, who plays multiple obnoxious characters.

It’s a darkly absurdist comedy, with a brisk pace lightening a bleak satire of competitive Californian culture. Mary and Elmo are the only ‘normal’ characters in the story. They’re surrounded by grotesque caricatures who heap pressure on their lives by keeping them under constant surveillance. Their troubles are compounded by their foul-mouthed infant son, reminiscent of Stewie from Family Guy.

The form of the show, and its abrupt ending, is hardly original, but Mary Go Nowhere is bolstered by a fabulous cast, and Shavers shows herself to be a keenly observant and darkly humorous writer.

★★★☆☆

Christian Butler is a spiked columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @CPAButler

Mary Go Nowhere is at the Assembly George Square Studios until 28 August.

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