Not seen for many years, Finborough theatre have gifted the production “Jeannie” to us this festive season. Charming, light and romantic, Scottish playwright Nicolette Kay’s work is guaranteed to make you laugh. Finborough theatre’s stage is small, providing an intimate environment needed to unearth this 1930s version of the Cinderella story. Jeannie (Mairi Hawthorn) is a drudge for her mean controlling father. Her maintenance of a soothing Scottish dialect throughout and the old-fashioned and domestic details transport the audience to a regressive “wee one-eyed town” near Glasgow. We first meet Jeannie metaphorically trapped in her family home for two reasons; her obligation to stay due to her mother’s death, coupled with her father’s lack of generosity. Jeannie makes it clear that she longs for a different life.
When her father dies, Jeannie receives a large inheritance which allows her to take a “holiday… to the world”. She travels to Vienna, chasing her dreams.
The play then follows Jeannie’s adventure, meeting Stanley (Matthew Mellalieu), the washing machine inventor from Yorkshire and a real Viennese count along the way. Intertwined are situations manifested through a lack of money and the emotions propelled by this. The play teaches that people may use their wealth to deceive you but in contrast, it is through the lacking of wealth that sincerity can really shine through.
Although the scene transitions are a bit rustic; portrayed out for the audience to see, they are captivating nonetheless.
“Jeannie” will be showing until December 22nd at Finborough Theatre, (01223 357 851, finboroughtheatre.co.uk)