Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan, four stars

IT’S Melania, folks – but not as we know the current First Lady of America. Actually, what do any of us know about Melania? Slovenian, former model, married to Donald Trump, mother of his son, Barron – that’s about it, other than photographs and gossipy snippets that suggest she’s miserable in the White House. The way is therefore clear for composer Hilary Brooks and lyricist Clive King to collaborate on a highly fanciful mini-musical about what might change if Melania had experienced voices to advise her – enter the ghosts of iconic First Ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy.

They are a merrily oddball double act: the briskly high-minded Eleanor (Margaret Preece) takes care of the socially aware politics and the style maven, Jackie (Frances Thorburn), takes the business of public image beyond clothes and into issues of personal identity and self-preservation. Melania (Kirsty Malone) seems touchingly ill-at-ease on all fronts. We’re flies on a White Hall wall, as a panic-stricken Melania (very centrefold in a white satin negligee) pours out an aria of disappointment and despair. “I wanted the world,” she sings, “but the world is a lonely place...”

The spoken dialogue has some sharply funny exchanges – Eleanor and Jackie initially lock horns over legacy and status – and, as you might expect, there are barbed pot-shots at the Donald. However it’s the songs that reveal how these woman feel about their White House role – and their philandering husbands – and how deeply that has impacted on their true selves.

Melania does undergo an Evita-esque sea change that I won’t spoil beyond hinting that it does involve Scotland. Meanwhile all three – individually fine vocalists, harmoniously high-flying as an ensemble – deliver a final rallying cry that would gladden the ears of Suffragettes. “It’s up to the women, to make the men see sense.” they chorus. Director Ken Alexander and choreographer Chris Stuart Wilson have served the ladies very well.