THERE'S a calm to Glasgow actor Kirstin McLean which stretches beyond the expected.

The 32-year-old from Cardonald is about to star in an incredibly demanding 17th century play, in which she plays both a male and female, and she seems to be taking it all in her stride.

Kirstin, who appears regularly in BBC Scotland comedy Limmy's Show, is one of the stars of Volpone, part of Oran Mor's Classic Cuts Season.

The story, re-written by River City actor Andy Clark, tells of elderly rascal Volpone, who is wealthy and heirless, but he feigns illness in order to make a few bob.

But with the help of his parasite Mosca (Kirstin) he dupes three greedy sycophants to his house who lavish him with gifts, each hoping to become the beneficiary of his huge fortune.

However, as his scheming becomes more and more elaborate, Volpone's web of deceit leads to a darkly comic chain of events.

"It's a great play," says Kirstin.

"It's a bawdy romp, set in Elizabethan times in Venice, and I think it will go down well.

"But it also has its dark side. It's a tale of greed and lust. And there's a scene in which Volpone almost rapes a woman. It's a challenge for the audience - and it's really engaging."

Kirstin, 33, adds: "It's been tricky pulling it together because it's a two-and-a-half- hour-long play, which has had to be cut down.

"And a few of the sub plots and characters have had to be killed off.

"But Andy has done a great job in keeping the over-riding message of the piece in place."

The play, which also stars Harry Ward, Eddie Kingham and Stephen Clyde, uses the device of allowing the audience to be part of the theatre process; the actors play a troupe, who set up about to perform a play.

But isn't it tricky playing two characters - of opposite sexes?

"Not that tricky. Celia is an innocent, and I sort of play Mosca as asexual. I'm not trying to play him as a man, just using his character traits.

"And I've played boys before. It's fun."

She adds, grinning: "I haven't had time to grow a moustache though."

Kirstin graduated from the RSAMD 10 years ago and has landed a range of theatre and TV roles.

"Limmy's Show has been great to work on," she says. "Brian Limond is really inspiring, and just so talented."

Acting work in Scotland is limited at the moment but Kirstin seems entirely relaxed about her future. She reveals when not acting she teaches acting workshops.

"I enjoy it and even though there isn't a lot of acting work you just have to believe it will turn up. I believe in positive thinking."

That process is made easier because Kirstin is a practising Buddhist. She chants for up to a couple of hours a day.

"I heard about Nichiren Buddhism from a few people, and I was struggling with my career at the time. At first I thought it nonsense but I had a go - and I haven't looked back."

She's certainly not caught up with the actor's ego. Kirstin works for Childline.

"I volunteer as a counsellor. When I'm not acting I can do shifts for them. But I find it way more rewarding than demanding. And the training you get is great. You're not unsupported during the calls."

Kirstin's act of unselfishness has an added benefit.

"It makes me understand more about the human condition. And actors have to appreciate what makes people tick."

She adds, grinning: "Actors aren't as selfish as people think. Some of them want to identify with other people, and perhaps in that process help them if they can."

Last question: Will Limmy's Show come back for a new series?

"I'm hoping," she says. "I'll chant to make sure it does."

l Classic Cuts: Volpone Mon-Sat 1pm. Oran Mor, Byres Road, 0141 357 6200. £8 - £12.50. West End Festival 2013. A merciless satire of greed and lust, considered one of the finest Jacobean comedies. Available from / 0844 477 1000, or on the door.