(£2). Confederacy of Fools in a comedy about Captain Skeeter ‘Earholc' McTavish and The Boy on a mission to Mars. marooned in space for ten yearsand pretty glum. until a strange female presence invades their spaceship. I PALACE THEATRE 9 Green Street. Kilmarnock. 0563 23590. Box Office Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Cafe/Bar Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. [DHE]. The Virtuous Burglar and An Ordinary Day Fri 27 May. 7.30pm. £3.50 (£2.50). Borderline Theatre Company in their touring double bill of Dario Fo farces. See Review. No Mean City Mon 6 & Tue 7 June.7.30pm. £3.50(£2.50). 7:84 Scotland Theatre Company tour their stage adaptation premiered at Mayfest of the book about Glasgow's razor gangs. See Review. I PAVILION THEATRE 121 Renfield Street. 332 1846. Box Office Mon-Sat 10am-8pm. Bar. The Celtic Story Mon 2 May—Sat 25 June. 7.30pm. £5. £4 (£2.50). Wildcat in their musical celebration ofCeltic Football Club‘s centenary. See Review. I ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY OF MUSIC AND DRAMA 100 Renfrew Street. 041 332 5057. American Clock Tue 31 May-Fri 3June. 7.15pm. £2(£l). The end ofyear production from second year students doing the Diploma of Dramatic Art is Arthur Miller's play. directed by Lyn Baines. I SCOTTISH BALLET STUDIO 261 West Princes Street. MisterJock Mon 23 May until Sat 1 1 June. 7.30pm. Sat mats 2.30pm. Ticket details from Ticket Centre. Candleriggs. 0-11 227 5511. Russell llunterinthe sequel to W. Gordon Smith's hugely successfulJm'k . a virtuoso one-man romp through Scottish history. See (iuestlist. ITHEATRE ROYAL l lope Street. 331 123-1. Box Office Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. (7.30pm on perf evgs). Bar. Buffet. Scottish Opera Sec Classical Music. I THIRD EYE CENTRE 350 Sauchiehall Street. 332 7521. Cafe open 1 lam-2.30pm Tue-Fri and during evening performances. Bags and Misfoot Fri 27 & Sat 28 May. 7.30pm. £3 (£2). The ever innovative Kirkcaldy College Theatre Arts Programme in a double bill that wasa great success when done in Edinburgh. Bags by Andy Mackie takes an offbeat look at ‘bags‘ ofevery nature. at what we carry and how we are carried. while Misfoo! by Lynn Bains is a compelling and disturbing play about racism in Scotland. AS A Person #2 Thurs 2—Sat 4 June. 8pm. £3.50 (£2.50) Texture in a multi-media production. The Third Eye Centre is currently commissioning work from artists and performers involved in live art. Following Annie Griffin‘s witty and fascinating The Deadly Grove. Texture. a group working in Glasgow. have been commissioned to follow up their performance As A Person #2. that they developed last year. This is a multi-media exploration of communication under intense conditions. using a constant dialogue between images, sounds and performers. I TRON THEATRE 63 Trongate. 552 4267 8. Box Office Tue-Sat Noon-8pm; Sun 12.30-11pm. Closed Mondays. The White Bird Passes Wed ll—Sun 29 May. 8pm. £3 (cones £1) for members;£4 (no cones) for non-members. The Tron Theatre Company in a new production of Anne Downie‘s stage adaptation ofthe novel by Jessie Kesson. See Review. Rock of Ages Tue 31 May—Sun 5 June. 8pm. Tickets as above. Annexe Theatre Company in their touring production of Robin Lindsay Wilson‘s new play. See Review. The Burgher's Tale Tue 7—Sun 12June. 8pm. Tickets as above. Theatre Co-Op in a new touring play by Allan Sharpe. See Touring.
THE WHITE BIRD PASSES
Tron Theatre, Glasgow
1 have not read Jessie Kesson’s The White Bird Passes, and perhaps one of the best things about Anne Downie‘s stage adaptation is that while standing well on its own, it certainly makes you want to rush away and read the novel. It tells the partly autobiographical story ofJanie, an imaginative young girl growing up in impoverished Elgin in the 1920s. Janie lives with her mother, a proud and attractive woman, who loves Janie and encourages her in her inventiveness, but who feeds her with purchases made with the wages of sin — in the eyes of the community. Eventually the busybodying neighbours get their own back on what they see as Janle‘s mother's aloofness, with ambivalent results.
Andi Ross‘s sensitive production brings outthis ambivalence, managing to suggest on Gordon Davidson's fine set the atmosphere of the tenements, while pointing up the play's irony— interior scenes between Janie and her mother are played to one side of the stage, the truth of the relationship contrasting with external appearances. It is a little long, there are some scenes that are a little twee and others that one feels possibly worked better in the book, playing on the imagination, than they do when spelled out. But it crackles with wit, is performed by a fine ensemble cast, and the central relationship between Janie (Maureen Carr) and her mother (Donalda Samuel) is gently handled, and, ultimately, heartrending. (Sarah Hemming).
NO MEAN CITY/THE CELTIC STORY
7:84 Scotland/Wildcat. Seen at Mayfest. Now on tour.
In theirapproach to A. McArthur and H. Kingsley Long’s novel No Mean City, director David Hayman and adaptor Alex Norton have wisely opted not to extract what literal truth there may be inthls particularsocial history. Rather they have used it as an opportunity to examine the mythology of the razer-gang Gorbals.
Kenny Miller's set is stylised black, dripping with red paint and the costumes look like a cross between the sort of suits that might be worn by Chicago gangsters and a foam filled three piece suite. Throughout the production, performed by 7:84 Scotland, Hayman achieves a fine balance between the obnoxious and the comic. ‘
The violence, brilliantly choreographed from the first head butt, has a quite intentional, thrilling appeal which throws the audience off its guard. Again we are surprised, as the slender plot develops, to find the play not firmly coming down on the side of the peaceful, politicised unions. We see, in one incident, a union representative humiliated and forced literally to grovel like a dog at his master's feet. It is almost as if the production is championing the violent and necessary short lived, Johnny
(Alexander Norton) and his Razor King lifestyle.
But the play is not celebrating those times or advocating a return to violence on the street. It does however acknowledge that the razor gang mythology contributes in its own way to an understanding of contemporary Glasgow. Dfa time when life really was brutish and short, the play seems to be saying there is just as much humanity to be understood from the spirit of Johnny as a from the heroism of exploited workers. The play ends with the destruction of the Gorbals and a girl of anothergeneration skipping through the ruins, singing a ditty about the Razor King. When she finds a razor a nearby tramp shakes his head and signals her to put it back amongst the ruins. This she does, but the song goes on.
Wildcat's The Celtic Story has a much more literal understanding of Glasgow's last 100 years. The story of the football club is told through the eyes of an Irish immigrant family whose lives have been bound up, largely as fans, with the club. The sketch of the century hangs on a few unmissable incidents such as the lighting of a World War or the winning of a European Cup.
The whole thing would be just a little ridiculous were it not forthe atmosphere that David MacLennan‘s play generates. Thanks partly to the music (David Anderson) the play works with its audience to create a feeling more usually sensed on the terraces than in the theatre. (Nigel Billen)
Nominatae Filiae, Third Eye, run finished.
Nominatae Filiae, presented by an all-woman cast is in many ways a strangely contradictory piece of theatre. It looks at what happens to women‘s creativity when it's hemmed in on all sides by religion and society and the result is violent and explosive. But the staccato, non-narrative style of the piece seems so determinedly abstruse that it runs the risk of alienating the very people it seeks to engage.
What saves it from being a bleak and difficult performance however is both the strength of the acting Polish director Zofia Kalinska draws from the multi-national cast and the tremendous force of some of its images. The whole piece is wrapped in the powerful imagery of Catholicism and the
church’s idealsforwomen reluctantly inform everyone‘s behaviour. In the end it suggests that for these women the process of extracting their own selvesfrom what society see astheir duty will be so violent thatthey will be in dangerofactually destroying themselves as they do so. (Sally Kinnes)
DEAD DAD DOG/ BOTH HANDS TOGETHER
The Traverse opened their season of new work by Scottish writers with a double bill in which style was more apparent than content.
thhe two plays, however, itwas John McKay’s comedy, ratherthan Paula MacGee‘s plaintive dialogue, that had the greater depth. McKay’s Dead Dad Dog has a kind of nervous energy only just kept in check, but Stephen Unwin exploits this to the full inthe direction.
The comic device of putting a ghost on stage has been used many times before, but there are enough original and knowing twists in this haunting of a son about to face his big day (ofjob interview and first date) by his father, to make it fresh. Ralph Riach and Sam Graham tackle the parts with a delicate lightness of touch, essential in a play which relies on a structure of short bursts of action and dialogue, sandwiched between snatches of nostalgic music from the son‘s boyhood.
The gently satirical wit of the writer occasionally hits home about conditions in contemporary Scotland where people struggle to hold onto ideals, but the real strength of the play is in capturing the moment of realisation which allows the son to see his father as a human being.
Despite the emotional intensity of Paula MacGee‘s Both Hands Together, this second play in the bill doesn’t quite convince. In anothertwo-hander, Sharon McKenzie and Kirsty Miller portray the relationship oftwo girls from teenage to motherhood. Occasionally the relationship does come to life in the snatches of
conversation, but there seems to be little in the plot to justify the final bleak outcome. Jeremy Raison‘s direction, while sensibly unfussy, seeks in vain for a style to hold the ambitious form of the play which includes song, monologue and dialogue together. (Nigel Billen).
The List 27 May - 9 June 198819