Brian Beacom

CHIC Murray, Mohammed Ali, Elvis – and Lulu. What do they all have in common?

They will all be represented in some form in the new spring season of Oran Mor plays.

The season, underlined by unashamed populism, features a female, Doric, Elvis impersonator, a bio-play of comedy legend Chic Murray, the story of the Glaswegian who “flattened” Muhammed Ali and a tale of how Lulu was torn over Boom Bang A Bang Bang.

“There is a nice mix of plays, as always,” says Morag Fullerton, who shares production credits with April Chamberlain.

“And of course we have a real coup in attracting crime writer Val McDermid as we will feature her very first play.”

Val’s play Margaret Saves Scotland tells of a nine-year-old’s

“It’s a very enchanting warm story, set in the late Fifties,” says April.

“And Margaret she can’t believe how terrible the English have been to the Scots over the years.”

There are other exciting works on the schedule.

Just as we thought we were finished with panto season this new offering of plays kicks off with It’s Behind You, by panto writer – and panto star - Alan McHugh, who will also be appearing in this production alongside Paul James Corrigan.

Set at Christmas in a panto dressing room, it tells of double act Norrie and Nicky Nelson whose careers are going in opposite directions.

And tempers are sorely tested.

It follows with Lorna Martin’s Party Politics, which covers similar territory as BBC2’s Motherland, whereby the slightly unhinged mother will go to any lengths to see her daughter secure an invite to little Bo’s birthday party.

Next up is Aye, Elvis, by Morna Young in which Elvis copycat Joan, played by former River city star Joyce Falconer, features in an “alternative love story about escapism and identity.”

An arranged wedding story is told form the point of view of the happy? couple in Rishta, by Taqi Nazeer.

And The Greatest tells of a meeting with Mohammed Ali, set in a care home in which an old man relates his Ali tales to young female. But is it true?

Middle-aged internet dating is the subject of For The Love of Chekov (The Dating Game) by A.S. Robertson.

When a couple meet up they discover, funnily enough their profiles don’t quite match the reality.

McGonagall’s Chronicles, sees Gary McNair tell the Dundonian world’s worst poet’s story in “almost rhyming verse”.

And Rachel’s Cousin, by Ann Marie Di Mambro, tells of a woman who has to contact cousins she’d rather not have anything to do with when she discovers she has a cancer gene.

Margaret Saves Scotland runs next and then writer Rob Drumond returns to Oran Mor with Eulogy.

We come to hear an end-of-life statement by the departed Sandy that will shock his relatives.

This is followed by returning playwright/actress Hilary Lyon who brings Bubblewrap to Oran Mor, a play which focuses on stress-inducing house moving, when we are forced to pack and unpack our lives.

And then we wonder Where’s Lulu?, Danny McCahon’s play in which the singing legend re-evaluates her career as she’s about to sing in the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Lulu didn’t want to sing Boom Bang A Bang,” says Morag, “but pressures from her agent saw her perform it.

“Meanwhile, she wanted to be singing the blues in Muscle Shoals Alabama. This play is about how she is pulled in two directions.”

The role of Lulu hasn’t been cast yet, but it represents a great opportunity for a young singer/actress.

Next up is Hot Water, by Steven Dick, which tells of the writer’s great granny who became stuck in a bath for quite a long period and listened to Radio Four. It’s a chance to reflect on her life.

We then move on to the legend that was Chic Murray in A Funny Place For A Window, by Stuart Hepburn. Chic hasn’t yet been cast, but comic timing is essential.

The story sees Chic take a musical look back on his glittering but flawed career.

The penultimate play of the season, First Dance, by Martin McCormack features Darren Brownlie, as a wedding choreographer. Now, everyone - or so it seems - wants their first dance to be perfect and so Terry and Rhona hire someone to teach them to dance.

Yet, all too many couples want to perform I Had The Time of My Life. Arm lifts and all.

And that makes for great comedy value.

The final play is Vampire Clinic, by Peter McDougall. It’s set in a stroke clinic and is a dark love story featuring two patients. The writer himself suffered a stroke.

“We’ve got established writers, a few first-timers and some favourites,” says Morag. “It looks to be a really strong season.”

*Play, Pie and a Pint, from February 12.