STARS IN THE MORNING &: SEE FRI 14. With so much ot its history denied and discredited there is a sense perhaps that Russia wants to be allowedto inhabit its own past belore it can move on and asthe small cast trom Leningrad took their standing ovation at the end oi theiropening night at Maylest. there was a leeling that they were liercely proud ol this play. directed by Lev Dodin.
From the beginning it is clear that the Russian-ness at this play is a part otits very substance and here. in
Stars in the Morning. it isa literary past. the low lile world at Dostoevsky. that the Russian cast want to reclain.
The problem is thatot being rigourously honest with its themes. the play seems to indulge itsell in sentiment just a little too much. In over-identitying with the world oi Dostoevsky it seems to lose some at itsell in the process.
This should not however detract lrom its assessment as a substantial and serious piece ol work. Author Alexander Galin has taken a compelling theme tor his play (written in 1984 and not pertormed until July 1987). It's set on the eve ol the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and the local prostitutes. the apparently immoral llotsam and jetsam ol society. have been swept up like so much rubbish and contined to a tormer asylum torthe duration otthe Games. Thus the play peels otlthe top layerol society and reveals the raw. bruised and damaged nature which hides
underneath. There are
obvious resonances with contemporary Soviet lite. its growing political acceptance ol long-denied wrongs and its growing clamourlor another. more democratic. voice to be heard.
It's also a play about our moral view at each other. and people’s moral view ol themselves. Alexander. a young Moscow policeman. loves Maria. one otthe prostitutes. but cannot lace either his mother or himsell tor doing so. and amongst the women themselves there is a sometimes wretched. sometimes tender camraderie. important is its whole stance which is an act at detiance against hypocrisy and dishonesty and ittullills this role with a terrilic energy and commitment lrom a line. strong cast. (Sally Kinnes)
LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN: SEE FRI 13. The expansive grace ot Philip Prowse's set designs are an ideal match
lor Oscar Wilde's relined and razor-sharp wit. The one sits so comlortably upon the other. it seems a shame that the two men are separated by the best part at a century.
Set amongst the opulent and leisured upper classes at late 19th-century London society. Wilde's play pokes knowing tun at the double standards ot social decorum.
believing her husband to
i have been unlaithlul with ‘ Mrs Erlynne (Angela
Chadlield). is distraught both because at her natural
marital devotion and the
opinion.Wrndermere—tar less tickle a character— is
left with virtually no one to turn to. The plot eventually reveals her husband‘s innocence. but in the mean time Wilde presents us with an observant study otan individual isolated among triends.
Yolanda Vasquez creates
a tully rounded character.
prone to being taken in. but ; aplto rescue hersell
i through strength ol
purpose. Fidelis Morgan excels as
the Duchess ol Berwick. ; gleelully embracing the contrariness ot social
convention and handling
i the art ol the put-down with
the skill ot that more contemporary dame. Edna
Everage.Hampered attimes .
by the beautitul but huge
dresses(plustheodd ludicrous hatthrown in lor
good measure). the
Citizens' company creates a '
constant buzz ol movement about the stage. This helps when delivering acerbic asides intended torthe audience and not the other characters. but it can be distracting in some ot the quieter moments. Listening out tor Wilde's witty one-liners is a joy. but you can lind yoursell live lines behind as you try and make sense ol them. and there are times— notably with
Cecil Graham (played by Laurence Rudic with cynical elegance)-when we see less a character and more a series at aphorisms. Nonetheless. a stylish production at a classically cratted play. (Mark Fisher)
HEW S_HQ\_N(UNTIL15 MAY): SEE 13 MAY. CABARET. The idea that husband and wile TV evangelists Tom and Sammy Jo (Peter Capaldi and Elaine Collins) are presenting a special edition at their glitzy show live lrom the Tron Theatre is excellent. Grinning and glassy-eyed. Capaldi greets individual members ol the audience asthey enterthe theatre. Contrasting with his plastic good looks. the 20th-century gargoyle at a tloor manager losses with imaginary cameras and wipesthe sweatlrom Capaldi‘s brow. Capaldi hears voices in his head— notlrom the Lord buttrom the producer through his ear piece.
With all the recent publicity oversex scandals that have hit these missions ol the airwaves the set-up is immediatelytamiliar and torthe most part The Sammy and Jo show. written by Capaldi. is content to parody the genre.
While the show begins by being unsettling as well as lunny (Capaldi looks as it he is goingto drag the audience intothe experience making it shout catch phrases like ‘We're nuts about Jesus‘) this is never developed. thus missing thejugularand any attempt to explain the disturbing appeal at such TV programmes. (Nigel Bitten)
ROMEO AND JULIET: RUN ENDED. The best known plays don't neceesarily present the hardest challenge tor a director but with a play such as Romeo and Juliet. where the story is so well known that the very names have entered the language. the struggle
to make it appear lresh can be insurmountable.
Where Temba Theatre Company's production scores so heavily. is in locating anewthe very springs which give liie to the play; certainly there is tile in every pore.
It is set in Cuba and so persuasive. robust and sensual is this production that it carries with itthe conviction that the play was never meant to be done in any other way butthis.
For all that Romeo (David Harewood) is black and Juliet (Georgia Stowe) is white. the dynamics at the piece are not made to lie in the problems ol racism. What comes across with tremendous strength is the sheer physicality and sensuality ot lite and how. given a chance. this works tor good and not evil.
lcan't comment on me linal scenes as I had to leave slightly early to catch a 'plane. But there are some moments ol emotion lrom the excellent principals — when Juliet rushes at territic speed into the arms ol Romeo when they are about to get married. trailing her crimson red cloak. and when Romeo. newly married, re-enters the stage to meet his triends turning cartwheels ot joy- which remain explosive and unlorgettable. (Sally Kinnes)
THE FACTORY GIRLS: RUN FINISHED. On the lace olit this play seems to be simply a slice ol social realism; it is a portrait at a group at women employed in a Donegal shirt lactory to trim the stray threads otthe newly made shirts. It is a
portraittoo at an industry threatened by competition lrom the Far East and where these women carry out one at the lew remaining human tasks in an increasingly mechanised process.
The always impressive Southern lrelandbased company Druid. have extracted moving and detailed perlormances lrom
the actors and particularly the live women at the centre oi the action. Alienated by the leeling that their Dublin-based union cares little and understands less aboutthe Draconion measures the company's new management is about to take. the ‘girls' take action into their own hands. Exchanging the limited horizons ol the shoplloor depicted in the play‘s lirst halt tor a prison ol their own making. the women barricade themselves in the boss‘s ollice.
Throughout this process clear portraits otthe characters emerge.
But while the actors bring these people to tile. the ultimate impression is that each character is linked to an aspect ol Ireland. its history and its politics.
Within the group at women some kind ol resolution is achieved. but the outcome at the siege itsell is tell hanging. Ellen. whose spirit is eventually broken. is shown to be llawed and weakened as a Ieaderby her reliance on the past and past tragedies It is tell to Rebecca (Marie Mullen). having movingly discredited Ellen. who nevertheless represents so many at the virtues at these women. and perhaps Ireland. to take upthe cause. The play ends enigmatically and in a style that abandons the naturalism. with a strident cryto make the one last 'heaveﬂ
While occasionally the writing is cliched and clumsy. Frank McGuinness’ play appears to have captured authentic voices to shed light on the various torms ol oppression that have helped shape Ireland's character. (Nigel Billen)
VISITING COMPANIES: RUN ENDED. Councillor Andrews regrets but Mrs Andrews in a green lrock olquite stupetying ghastllness. is standing in lor him to address the Conservative Alliance torthe Arts. Marcella Evaristi's one-woman pertormance ol
her own Visiting Companies 9
starts out as a mildly amusing revue sketch on Tory ladies who adore the Arts. or at least their vision otthe Arts. and deepens into a bitter indictment ol the morality that has brought us Clause 28. Her own son. it transpires. has become a designer and ‘willie woolter‘. but unlike her husband. aka “the Teddy Taylor at Strathkelvin'. she cannot separate the personal and the political and. everthe motherto her son. ends up signingthe petition against the Clause.
This leels like work in progress lrorn Miss Evaristl who uses the alter-bullet speech lormat to enable her to read most ot the script. But it's potentially very strong. I would counsel her to make the lirst part lunnier. perhaps a little more grotesque. so that the audience is lulled into a lalse sense at security and think they are just watching a lunny satirical monologue. When she then turns the knile at the end. it will hurt our cosy little assumptions all the more ellectively.
IN NATI N...FR M A! EMPTY LAND (MATEltl-SNA DANCE COMPANY)/CHANDLER STUDIO: RUN ENDED. The lights come up on a butterﬂy lady. Hertoes curl into the lloor as she slowly walks. Her lace is white and her eyes closed. Light and music is intense. This is Buto.
Maytest is tortunately tormlng the good habit ol showing Duto dance lrom Japan every season. Last year Carlotta lkeda astonished audiences under salt rain. This year. another lemale Buto dancer at equal reputation. Natsue Nakajima. made her Glasgow debut as choreographer and dancer with the British premiére ol Sleep and Reincarnation . . . From An Empty Land.
Like Haiku. Buto is spare and poetic in its language. Though with an overall title.
the programme is builtin sections. like movements in a piece ol music. Sleep and Reincarnation opens lightly with a Japanese summer. movesto thunder. contemplatesthe landscape. dives deep into the sea and linally is reborn. A lite cycle in just under two hours. Nakailma's quiet. longing movement established a meditative quality while dancer Yukio Waguri wove character. colour and humour into the piece. She was the thoughtlul woman with stones, he wasthe whale and magical god. Together. they were complete.
Thoughthe intimacy ol the new Chandler Studio was welcome. it was
unlortunate that this a exceptionalpertormance
was marred by technical interterence. Tapes clicked on and oil. voices carried
5 lrom the corridor outside and there was nevera
dense black tor the lighting to work against ortorthe perlormers to exit. So carelully choreographed down to each blink ol an eye itsell. 8qu requires a background ol equal concentration. (Alice Bain)
The List13— 26 May 198813