Squash is the third play in this Autumn’s “A Play, A Pie and a Pint”season at Òran Mór produced in association with Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre—following on from Flame Proof by Lesley Hart and Mrs Barbours Boys by A J Taudevin. (Both writers, it should be pointed out, have connections with the Traverse and are former recipients of a Playwrights’Studio Scotland New Playwrights Award, which says a lot about the quality of their work.)

The result is an unsettlingly effective impression that you’ve side-stepped into a parallel universe; if the language weren’t so dark, it might even be considered playful.

With Squash, by actor and writer Martin McCormick, the involvement of “Scotland’s New Writing Theatre” again is definitely discernible; director Finn Den Hertog has been able to bring together an outstanding team to deliver a very fresh piece of original theatre which, if somewhat constrained by its current time limit, is still definitely worth catching if you can.

Squash is set in the Glasgow tower block flat which Ma shares with her grown up son, Bald. Ma saw, out of the window, young Paul stealing Bald’s yellow bike, and he’s been brought upstairs to be dealt with. From this initial premise, the play gets darker and more surreal with each passing line as everyone’s secrets slowly come to light.

McCormick’s dialogue excellently conveys mother and son’s insular world; they have strange internal rules for how the world works, unfamiliar names for things, and decidedly odd sentence constructions. The result is an unsettlingly effective impression that you’ve side-stepped into a parallel universe; if the language weren’t so dark, it might even be considered playful.

The cast revel in this dialogue; Christian Ortega as Paul coherently finds the balance between playing the straight man to this mad family and revealing his own secrets, bringing a nuanced humility to his darkest material. Anne Lacey as Ma combines a League of Gentlemen-esque confident insanity with a self-awareness that demands a second look. Finally, Keith Fleming as Bald plays Ma’s totally institutionalised son with vulnerability and emotional intelligence, while never ceasing to exploit the fun available to the role.

This is a play with big ideas, but any intended social criticism is all too easily buried by the overtly dark humour and surreal characters. The result is a strange, almost comic piece of theatre that, while certainly enjoyable, doesn’t quite have the time to give its more profound aspects space to grow.

Reviews by Grace Knight

Kings theatre

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

King's Theatre

Legally Blonde

King's Theatre

The Sound of Music

Theatre Royal Glasgow

The Crucible

Theatre Royal Glasgow

Jane Eyre

Theatre Royal Glasgow

Little Shop of Horrors


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Paul's been a bad boy - a bad bad pig of bike stealing boy. Ma seen him steal Bald's bike, after all Old Eagle Eyes doesnae miss a trick. What was Paul doing up here at the flats anyway? It's well past his bedtime and there's only room for one good boy in here. Bald knows that. Ma knows that. But what does Paul know? - See more at: http://oran-mor.co.uk/whats-on/squash-martin-mccormick/?eID=10614#sthash.TaWgTOHj.dpuf

Most Popular See More

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets