Who is Moira? The town councillor Moira Knox (late of this parish) who was the scourge of the tidal wave of filth that’s long been threatening to engulf the Edinburgh Fringe? No – although Mrs Knox would certainly not have approved of the four-letter expletives that come out of the mouth of Moira Bell, the heroine of this piece. She’s from Falkirk, that famed halfway-point between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Alan Bissett’s comic creation is a kind of Big Mags Haney, an unrepentant Welfare Queen who became a tabloid target a few years back. This Moira – played by Bissett in a costume of black tee and jeans – chats about her best pal Babs, her attitudes to men and hilariously skewers the scuzzy world around her.
It’s a world of ‘sovie rings’ and the neighbour’s Rottweiler called Petrol (or is it Diesel?), where women are proud to be able to fart harder than their menfolk can fight. And the local lads (clarty bastards in the main) drink Bucky which, according to Moira, is like a cocktail of sheep’s blood and Domestos.
Moira is the troglodyte school cleaner who’s had enough of men since her Billy walked out but won’t take any snash from other women. She threatens to punch a rival’s face ‘so hard she’ll shite it out her airse’.
This is a funny, feisty, fiery 60 minutes that’s utterly convincing. Moira’s as philosophical as she is political. Bissett and his director Sacha Kyle steer away from demonising the working class, though they come close at times. She says the unsayable (as all the best comic creations do). Of course, Scotland is a unified country, with everyone as part of the happy family except for, in Moira’s cigarette-puffing worldview, ‘Papes, Huns, paedos… oh, and anyone from Edinburgh’.