TRIVIAL PURSUITS/THE BURGHER’S TALE
Trivial Pursuits, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. The Burgher‘s Tale. Netherbow Theatre, Edinburgh and Tounng.
Tom McGrath‘s Trivial Pursuits and
goes deeper than this. The group oi
players are invited by a lord oi the old
: aristocracy to update their art and
pertorm a lampoon oi the Burgher. Al
tirst our sympathies are with the lord but gradually we are shown that he is
Allan Sharpe‘s The Burgher's Tale both
attack money and the pursuit oi it as a value system tor lite. Both are ambitious plays which pull no punches. The Burgher's Tale, presented by the
Theatre Co-op, returns us to the 17th century and a group oi wandering players who are also the last custodians oi the commedia dell'arte traditions. Nevertheless the point at the play is very much directed at today‘s society. The minstrels are under attack lrom the newly moneyed and increasingly powerful burgners who purportto lind their dramas distasteiul and attempt to run them all the streets. Already we are reminded oi the righteousness oi so many in control in Britain today and their attempts at censorship. Butthe allegory which Sharpe, in keeping with the traditions oi Commedia dell'arte has produced,
The White Bird Passes win: it Sun .‘9 May. Sec Mayfcsl Diary
Shanghaied Thurs 12 SM 1 lMay See Mayfest Diary
I BEDLAM THEATRE 2 l‘intlcsl Road. Ht“: ()ffice225 9893 Mon Sat 10am late. Cafe. The Critic and The Proposal Wed lb‘ May . 1.30pm. £1 .50 (£1 F1" 1 ('mcrribers). Edinburgh l'nivcrsity 'l heatre ( ‘ompany in a double bill ofclassics: Sheridan's '/ he ('ritic and (‘hekhov's lhe Proposal. States at Change Wed 187 Sun 22 May 7.30pm. £2.50(concs. £2; 121 "l (’ members£l .50). Tidirrbrrrghl'niver‘sity Theatre (‘ompany in an innovative new play by student Richard \tclcaltscl in the future. A young man realising that hislife has reached stalemate embarks on a journey looking for change. w hich eludes him. The more things change. he discovers. the more life basically stay s the I KINGS THEATRE 2 [even Street. 22‘) 1201. Box Office Mort Sat 10am Bar. [1)]. [ii], When i Was A Girl I Used To Scream and Shout Mon 9 Sat l<1.May. Mon l‘ri 7.30pm. Sat 5 6’: Rpm. £3 £0.50. '1 he touring West Lind production oi Shar'man McDonald‘s award-winning. funny and rude play about two Scottish girls discovering that they are grow ing up. FurCoat and No Knickers Mon 23 Sat 2s May. 7.30pm. Sat 5 8.: Rpm. £3» £6.50. Mike Harding's comedy about a stag night that ends up in a strip club. Not suitable for children. I HETHERBOW 43 High Street. 5569579. Box Office 10am ---1.30pm 7 evgs.(‘afe. [D] [15.]. The Burgher‘s Tale Wed 4 Sat l4 Mm: 7--2(l13m~£3(£3). ScottishTheatre(‘o ()p in a new show by Allan Sharpe See Review. Amateur Drama Festival'i hrrrs2ts 3;.th May. 7.30pm. £2.50(£2). Thurs 26: (ilen Theatre in (or and Box and Saughton Hall (‘hurch Drama (iroup in The Madam. Fri 27: ('anongate Players in Sandra Manon The BlaekzlnteractingTheatre Company in Halloween and Palmerston Place Amateur Dramatic So..‘iety in branee Blossom .
merely exploiting the players the Burgher wishes to destroy.
Eventually the troupe goes it alone and presents—we see it in ‘rehearsal' - a savage moralitytale identilying, with bawdy sexual imagery, money as the commedity that screws us all up. Allan Sharpe could have left it there, a witty, intelligent, literary play with excellent use at music and stage cratt to maintain the momentum. But instead the play ends on a brutally jarring murder ot the leader of the players.
Tom McGrath's play carries this harsh, perhaps better described here as bitter, note throughout. Trivial Pursuits is peopled by contemporary
3 baricatures—the money-obsessed,
materialistic people oi Thatcher‘s Britain. They aren‘t the ingenious creations ol Ayckbourn which despite their awlulness have the redeeming humane quality oi being laughable individuals however much they might
Sat 28: Aberfeldy Drama (iroup in .4 (Fa/way (fir! and (ilcn Theatre in The Illusion.
I PLAYHOUSE 22 (ireenside Place. 557 2590.
The Rocky Horror Show Mon 33 Sat 28 May. 7.30pm. Sat also 10pm. £4 50--£7.50. Mon evening all seats £4. The farewell tour of a production using lasers of the cult spoof horror show.
I ROYAL LYCEUM (irindlay Street. 229 9(i97. Box Office Mon—Sat 10am-r- (rpm. 10am «Rpm on perf. evgs. Bar.
Rest ('afe. ('I'heatreSaver (‘oncession (‘ards cost £1 . last all year. give £1 off the full price each time you come for you and a friend—available to ()APs. L'B-llls. Students. Disabled and Y1 S scheme) Tickets for Lyceum productions are also available at the
'I icket Centre. Waverley Bridge; branches of AT May's travel and the ()ueen's Hall. (‘lerk Street.
Trivial Pursuits Fri (sSat 28 May. 7.45pm. £2.7(L £6. TheatreSaver holders £1 off.
i Rlili Preview Thurs 5 May. Sat mat 21 May.3. 15pm. A new three act comedy by Scottish playwright Tom McGrath. See Review.
I THEATRE WORKSHOP 34 Hamilton Place. 226 5425. Box Office Mon- -Sat 9.30am——5.30pm. Bar. Cafe. [1)]. Great Expectations Tue 17 May. 7.30pm. £3.50(£2) TAG'T‘heatre ('ompanyin their new touring adaptation of the novel by (‘harles Dickens. See Touring.
Flock of Ages Fri 20 & Sat 21 May. 7.30pm. £3.50 (£2). Annexe Theatre Company in a new play by Robin Lindsay Wilson offering a fresh look at the Wild West.
The Virtuous Burglar and An Ordinary Day Mon 23--Wed 25 May. 8pm. £4 (£2.50). A double bill ofcomedy by the Italian master of farce. Dario Fo. See'l'ouring. Feumaidh Sinn A Bhl Gaireachdainn Fri 27 May. 7.30pm. £3 (£2). Lothian Playersin a one-act Gaelic play by John Murray. together with music and singing.
I TRAVERSE THEATRE 112 West Bow. (irassmarkct. 226 2633. Box Office 'l‘uem-Sat 10am-—-8pm. Sun (+— 10pm. Bar. Rest. Tickets also avail from the Ticket Centre. 22 Market Street. Seats from £2. Sundays all seats £2
aspire to being a type. Rather McGrath‘s characters are the liieblood oi modern, London-based, situation comedy and soap-opera. Normally we laugh away at these characters as they pertorm their antics behind the amoral vacuum oi the cathode ray tube. McGrath makes us at iirst deride them, then hate them, but iinally tearthem. It is a tear that the play hints at lrom iirst. On stage, observable onlyto the audience, a ghost-like ligure, dressed in the garments at an unspeciiied part at the third world sits crossed-legged, guru like. The only movementthis ligure makes is between the actions oi the rest oi the play: it’s seen to be an eerie reminder ottime running out. This is a witty play, careiully attuned to the ludicrous as well as the dangerous aspects oi apparently speciiically London Society. But at the
same time it is a rootless play. There is an air at Dickens about the use at the elements (the London Hurricane at last year tor instance) to symbolise corruption in the city but McGrath creates an impression, even in the structure at the play, at a precarious society that has iorootten its past.
(non- members £2.50).
Anna Campbell Fri 22 Apr— Sun 14 May 7.30pm. £4.50 (£2.50). A bold. though not entirely successful experimental piece of theatre. based on a llebridean 'waulkin‘ song telling the sad tale of Anna('ampbell and her lost love. Director (ierry Mulgrew uses dance and music to open out and tell the story. dramatiscd by Norman Malcolm Macdonald. Sometimes this works well. sometimes it feels rather superimposed. but there is a wonderful. moving performance from (ierda Stevenson as the betrayed Anna.
Scottish Accents '88 Tue 17 May-Sun S May. 7.30pm. £4.50(£2.50). Beginningof a minivfestival of new writing by young Scottish playwrights—part ofthe Traverse's 25th birthday season. There are four new plays in all. running consecutively. with an opportunity in June to see all on one day as part of a Festival Weekend that includes cabaret and discussions as well. There are other extras in June also in the shape of readingsand discussion ofscripts still being developed. (See next issue for detailed listings). See Panel
Plays this issue are:
l)ead Dad Dog and Both Hands Together Tue l7~ Sun 22 May. 7.30pm. A double bill by John McKay. author of ‘1 Love You Baby But 1 Gotta Run' and Paula MacGee. who won a Fringe First for ‘ln Nomine Patris‘.
Sheila Tue 24-‘Sun 29 May. 7.30pm. A new play by Anne-Marie Di Mambro. who wrote the wonderful monologue ‘Joe'. about student Sheila and the unexpected way her decorators affect her life.
This section lists shows that are touring Scotland. We give detailed listings onlyior periods when they are in the Central Belt area. There is a phone number tor each company, however, should you require more iniormation. Unless otherwise specified, the number alter each venue listed is the telephone number tor ticket enquiries tor that particular evening (please note, this is not always the venue number).
I The Straw Chair The Traverse Theatre Company. in association with Focus Theatre Company. start a tour of the first
Like The Burgher's Tale the play ends on a brutal murder, but in McGrath's play not even the victim is likeable. For all the bleakness oi the ending at the Burgher‘s Tale, there is still a notion at good versus evil and ii the ending is tragic, lessons have been learnt— at least by the audience. McGrath iorgives nothing and reveals no virtue.
.His is a ieartul vision at the world. It be is right, it is a world that will slowly unhinge us all. (Nigel Billen)
play of their Silver Jubilee Season A sensitive production ot a beautifully written. poetic and often funny piece of writing by Sue (ilovcr. it tells the taleof Lady Rachel oi ( irange. exiled on the island ot‘St Kilda beyond the ( )utcr Hebrides and features excellent performances. Adam Smith (entre. Kirki'aldv '1 ac It) May. 7.30pm. 0592 260498. [slay/iris Association. lslay Thurs l2 .‘vtay.049685 273. Paisley .4 rts ( 'entre. l’ais‘ley Fri 13 May. 7.30pm. 0-11 887 1010. (ireenock A rts (fut/d. (ireenoi‘k Sat 14 May. 7.30pm. 0475 23038, .‘1l)(’r(l(’(’ll.‘tfl.\' ('entre. Aberdeen Tue 17 May.7.30pm. 0224 642121. llarbourA rts Centre. Irvine Thurs 19 May. 7.30pm. 029-1 74059. ('ii-ic Theatre. Ayr Fri 20 & Sat 21 May.0292 263755. lind ofTour. I A Hard Day's Night 1 lull Truck tour their new production. Alloa Ton n Hall. Alloa Thurs 12 May. 0259 213131 Aberdeen .4 rts (‘entre. x1 l>erdeen Thurs l3 6’; Fri 1-1 May. 022-lh-11 122. I Rock of Ages Annexe Theatre ( ‘ompany in a new play by Robin Lindsay Wilson. St. Andrews Theatre. Buck/raven Fri 13 May. 7.30pm 0592 6300 l 7. Regal Resource (entre. Bathgate Sat 14 May. 7.30pm. 0506630017. Honar Hall. [)undee Tue 17 May. 7.30pm. 0382 23530. Theatre Workshop. lz‘dinhurgh Fri 20& Sat 21 May. 7.30pm. 031 225 7942. Tour continues. I Great Expectations TAU Theatre Company's innovative and lively new adaptation of (‘harles Dickens‘ classic. lau Brown's production of a stage adaptation by playwright John ('lifford includes dance. choreographed by (ireg Nash and the central role of Pip is played by Alan ('ummingof Victor and Barry tame. Tobe reviewed next issue. Chandler Studio. RSA MI). Glasgow L'ntil Fri 13 May. See Mayfest Diary. Cumbernauld Theatre. ('umhernauld Sat 14 May. Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh Tue 17 May. l’erth Theatre. I‘erth Festival Wed 18 8: Thurs 19 May. Palace Theatre. Kllmarnock Fri 20 May. ('arnegie Hall. [)unfermline Sat 21 May. [)undee Rep. [)undee Tue 24-Sat 28 May. Tour continues. I The Vanish A lively allegorical tale of good and evil from Fablevision. with their strong. visual style of theatre. The Drabs
The List 13 —- 26 May 1988 31