HOCUS POCUS/ IN NOMINE PATRIS
Annexe Theatre Co, Tron and Cumbernauld The relationship between the Church and ZOth-century society is frequently a subject tor debate on a general, issue-related scale. Annexe Theatre Co’s enterprising double-bill, however, offers two complementary explorations oi the problems at relating religious laith to modern society on a personal level, illuminatingthe conllicting principles oi two individuals with a religious vocation.
in Ann Marie di Mambro’s Hocus Pocus a young Glasgow priest gradually comes to terms with the (act that he cannot adequately deal with the social problems around him irom within the walls oi the presbytery.
Alongside the gradual uniolding oi his personal dilemma, and deep-seated worries about the role oi the church, di Mambro ranges other oi his circle — exploring the role of the church in their lives too. Occasionallythe play‘s structure shows through, but the dialogue is extremely perceptive and the characters very sympathetically drawn, brought convincingly to liie by the cast under Maggie Kinloch’s direction. Vincent Friell brings depth and intelligence to the troubled Dany and scenes between him and his mother (beautilully played by Marjorie Dalziel) are particularly well handled, while Alison Forsyth creates a moving cameo as a women too coniined by her sense oi duty to ever question the powers that hold sway over her
Paula MacGee’s In Nomine Patris shows the otherside oi the coin, exploring the situation of a young girl living in the Sixties who decides to become a nun - a pure, irreproachable, but nonetheless deiiant gesture towards her overbearing lather. Her parents, good church-going Catholics, are dismayed, and the play brings out a whole series of questions about allegiance to Catholicism, as her father becomes entangled in sectarian skirmishes. (SH)
TAG Theatre Co, Citizens’, Glasgow Edith Pial was the highest paid female singer of her day. A woman with an extraordinary abilityto communicate in her singing universal sufferings.
Pial, written by Pam Gems, gives the bare bones oi biography but it is enough to make it clearthatbeneath the pertormances that attracted huge audiences both side ol the Atlantic, there was great personal tragedy. Pial struggled in the latter part of her liie with alcohol and morphine‘addiction but her love liie tortured herequally. Discovered singing on the streets and no stranger to the other ways young penniless women might earn a living irom the streets, her meteoric rise seems to have brought vulnerability ratherthan security.
Terry Heason has the task in lan Brown’s production oi ileshing out the skeleton and chieily this has to be
accomplished with her voice. Neason’s |
impersonation is never short on musical conlidence or range and at times the mimicry oi the rasping sound is uncanny. But it takes more than this to recreate the Pial magnetism.
The Parisian settings are represented uneasily by a violent red set strewn with bottles and small cocktail ilag tricolours. The Parisians themselves, including Pial, speak with Glaswegian accents which while injecting liie into sparser written characters, is uniortunate tor burdening the play with a British ratherthan a French attitude to class. Although the cast work energetically, not enough is made in the writing oi the relationship between the singing and personal liie oi the subject for a real sense oi drama to emerge but it is this that would have helped create Piai’s special appeal. (Nigel Billen)
Cumbernauld Theatre Co, on tour
Mac Marlowe (‘no relation— 0K?’) prowls the mean streets oi Glasgow on the hazy trail oi murdered dames and business sharks. Robert Robson‘s slick ‘iilm noir’ thriller is a little thin on good one-liners, but contains great visual gags initiated in the absurd opening murder scene which lasts less than a minute. The highlight is the wonderful send-up of an ex-stripper who aspires to be a singer: in polka-dots and a ludicrous blonde wig, Blythe Duii gives an uproariously iunny passionate belly-busting rendering oi ‘Somewhere OverThe Rainbow.’
Jo McGinley’s excellent jazz on the sythesizer and the lugubrious shadows cast by the lighting design oi William M. Winter capture the mood at a sleazy sub-world. Complete with Lynn Aitken’s stylish oiiice set and accurate costumes, rendering Alasdair McCrone suitably Bogart-like, ‘Mugshot’ makes a good evening’s entertainment.
Theatre Royal, Glasgow
The 1980s have seen a spate oi King Lears, and this one, by Compass Theatre Company, directed by Don Taylor with reireshing humour in even the blackest scenes, shows why.
The style is austere and deliberately simple both in design (Chris Dyer’s set comprises four grey monoliths) and staging. A lormality is established in the symmetrical opening scene, which adds impact to the chaos which overwhelms it at the climax. Numerous walk-ons deitly suggest background and atmosphere, and become symbols oi the ordinary iolk dragged into the tragic hero’s downiall.
Anthony (luayle’s Lear rattles in this stark world with energetic weakness, drawing us along with each step towards vulnerability. His rapid delivery—shared by much of the cast- renders some emotion obscure but his agonised contusion in the middle scenes is deeply moving and his clarity towards the end leaves hardly a dry eye in the house. The sub-plot too is beautilully and painlully sustained, with an especially strong and touching Edgar in Peter Woodward. (A Burnet)
7:84 Scotland, on tour Ena Lamont Stewart iirst gained wide popularity with her Scottish working class drama ‘Men Should Weep’ pertormed by 7:84 in 1982. She updates the story in ‘High Places', a tale of the iailure oi urban rebuilding in the West 01 Scotland. Lite on Dungow estate is not easy. In a series of compassionate scenes Lamont Stewart shows residents coping with resilience and humour, in contrast with a near iarcical presentation oi ‘baddy’ local government olticials. Their lives come together in the comic kidnap oi the housing oiiicer, Fowlieather, who is taken to the dreaded ‘Bluebell Court’, butthe glaring opportunity ior conlrontation and solution is wasted and concern moves irom housing issues to personal relationships. The play serves only to aliirm that there is a housing crisis. It does so with line acting (directed by John Haswell), great electric piano and “glam rock’ to setthe Seventies’ period, and an evocatie stark set: grey building blocks are deitly used to create everything irom high rises to oiiice desks. The background slides oi dilapidated high rise llats are poweriul, and we read in the programme that they are pictures not oi the Seventies, as we assume, but taken in 1987-3 chilling reminderthat investment in adequate public housing is still not iorthcoming. (Hess Raison)
PITY IN HISTORY
Third Eye Centre, Glasgow. Run iinished.
This was an all too briei showing by United Artists (Scotland) oi Howard Barker’s TV play. Set in a cathedral during the English Civil War, Barker’s play is a brilliant, multi-layered illumination oisocial conditions behind the ostensibly religious motivation oi many oi Cromwell’s army, also weaving in questions about the reality of the artist’s role in society, and in history.
Beginning with an army cook, iatally wounded during iighting, who draws the bottom line oi the play by asking iundamentally ‘What are we lighting lor?’, the locus gradually shifts to a stonemason and his apprentice as the play begins to explore the period as one at potential social revolution.
The mason, played by Stewart Preston with a wonderiul combination oi comic cynicism and moving wisdom, is carving a tombstone lor the corrupt local landlord , which becomes a locus iorthe soldiers’ vandalism. As his apprentice moves irom learning to carve momuments tor the Church and the rich, to joining up to smash them up, and then back, the play weaves around the different iorms oi oppression open to the poor.
The cast is strong and
Lloyd Ouinan’s production is taut, iierce and yet beautilully controlled, bringing out the play’s humour. Its timeless setting could be the war-ravaged zone oi any civil war oi conviction, bringing out Barker’s interest in recurring themes in history. (Sarah Hemming)
Victoria Hall, Helensburgh Wed 25 Mar. 7.3(1pm. Tickets from Murray and Biggar. (1436 2151: Cumbernauld Theatre, Cumbernauld Thurs 26—Sat 28 Mar. 7.45pm. (1236 732887; Perth Theatre Studio, Perth Tue 31 Mar. 7.3(1pm. (1738 21031; (ilenwood ('erttre, Glenrothes Wed 1 Apr. Tickets from Arts In Fife. (1592 756633 or (ilenwood Centre. (1592 752244; Marya! Hall, Dundee Thurs 2 Apr. 7.3(1pm. Tickets from Dundee Resources Centre for the Unemployed. (1382 27735 or City Centre Box Office. (1382 23141 ext 4288. Tour continues.
0 Jotters Wildcat Stage Productions in their latest touring show: a musical on an ever-topical theme — education. Through a series of sketches based around a family involved in education at various levels, Wildcat teach us some salutory facts about education and (un)employment statistics in Thatcher‘s Britain (95% ofnew jobs are created in Southern England). Acting takes second place to music— which is lively and varied. and played to Wildcat‘s usual high standard. For further details please contact Wildcat on (141 954 (1000.
Palace Theatre. K ilmarnock Fri 20 and Sat 21 Mar. (1563 23590; Village Theatre. [fast Kilbride Mon 23 Mar. 32 48669; Bonar Hall, Dundee Tue 24 and Wed 25 Mar. (1382 22200; (ilen wood ( 'entre. (ilenrothes Thurs 26 Mar. (1592 752244: Arts Guild Theatre. (ireenoek Fri 27 and Sat 28 Mar. (1475 23(138;Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Tue 31 Mar—Sat 4 Apr (see Theatre listings).
0 Mugshot Cumbernauld Theatre Co in a new touring show about detective MacMarlovve. See Review. For further details please contact Cumbernauld Theatre on (1236 732887.
'l'ron Theatre. Glasgow Until Sat 21 Mar. 8pm. (141 552 4267: Aberdeen Arts Centre. Aberdeen Mon 23 Mar. 7.3(1pm. (1224 641 122635208: Lossiemoutlt. Bane/tory. .S'tmtehai'en. l"raserlmrgh Tue 24—Fri 27 Mar: Thorn/till. Dalbeattie. ll'hit/zorn Tue 31—Thurs 2 Apr.
Tour continues. returning to (ilasgow and Edinburgh later in
0 Whalers Michael Elder‘s moving play. performed by the author himself: a one-man dramatic monologue in which, through the characters of his great-grandfather and grandfather. he tells the story of the decline of the Dundee whaling industry. He makes stories ofthe harsh realities of whaling in the arctic seas captivating. paying tribute to the courage ofthe men, while gradually turning the focus onto the cruelty and moral dubiousness ofa trade based on killing beautiful. rare creatures increasingly to satisfy the vanity of man.
For further details please contact Edinburgh Arts Promotions on (131 5562647.
MaeRobert A rts ( 'entre. Stirling Thurs 2(1 and Fri 21 Mar; Village Theatre, liast Kilbride Wed 25 Mar. Tour continues.
18 The List 2(1 March — 2 April