Who hasn’t rummaged around a car boot sale, hoping to find the thing that some poor unsuspecting sod is throwing out that’s actually worth millions? It happens to people on the telly, so hey, why shouldn’t it happen to Maude Gutman, of Sagebrush Trailer Park, Bakersfield.
Larger-than-life Maude, who's as colourful a character as her striking thrift-shop-decorated mobile home – a pleasing sight on entry to the venue – believes she has found a Jackson Pollock painting. Or rather she thinks that the painting, which she anyhow hates, found her. As Maude’s story as to how she came upon the painting unfolds, we gain some clues about her investment in believing it is authentic – and it’s nothing to do with the millions expert Lionel Percy reveals it would be worth, were it so.
Unfortunately for Maude however, Percy’s reputation goes before him. Maude’s flagrant advances are not going to have any effect on his ‘educated’ opinion – even if he does succumb to her offer of more Jack Daniels than should realistically keep him standing. Two seconds and a blink were enough to tell him that the painting’s provenance didn’t twinkle, and Maude doesn’t understand ‘art’, as he can tell by her admiration of a detestable picture of a Frozen character she has propped up on a shelf. Yet the two have more in common than first impressions suggest.
Hazel Eadie energetically plays Maude, and Ian Aldred is well-cast as the more sober Percy – who pulls off speeches on his highfalutin credentials effectively, but without alienating the audience.
It’s an engaging hour-and-a-bit watching the pair bat to and fro: "The painting is a real Pollock!" (Maude); "No it is not!" (Percy); "It is too!" And so on and so on. Yet for all its one-track focus – diversions which delve behind the characters’ masks efficiently lead back to the same place – concentration didn’t flounder, and the warm applause at the end suggested the audience had enjoyed what they’d seen.