I Boy Chubby Brown Playhouse. Edinburgh. Run ended. ‘We can get a man on the fuckin‘ moon but we still can‘t get a man on Martina Navratifuckinlova.‘ Roy ‘Chubby' Brown has a faithful hardcore following. They‘re called the scum of the earth and they came in their swarms and busloads to pack the Playhouse. and witness their hero talking filth in grim gynaecological detail for 90 minutcsor so. Brown is one ofthe Northern club circuit comics who sold his soul to the devil 25 years ago. lnstead of presenting game-shows and guesting on Little And Large. he chooses to earn his living by shouting the C word at overweight piss artists in the audience. and recycling all those filthy jokes you heard at school. Still funnier than Stu Who'.’ though. (TL)
k; ' I God Say Amen English Shakespeare Company. Old Athenaeum Theatre. Run ended. A panel game of Shakespearean insults. audience opinion polls halfway through the show. various doomed English kings stealing the crown from each other to reveal their fatal flaws and a set dominated by cartoons of Margaret Thatcher and George Bush. Yup. it's another gimmicky production of Shakespeare but unlike. say. last year‘s Citizens' Macbeth. this compilation of the most war-like bits from the Wars of the Roses plays attempts to tease out 5 their relevance to contemporary world
affairs. The five ESC . actors prove adept at not : only producing some moving moments from the short passages. but also at leading out contributions from the audience in the discussion both during and after the show. (AB)
7 IN PRINT 1
I Hardie and Baird and I Other Plays James Kelman (Seeker & Warburg £5.99) Three plays and a polemical pro-public
3 fundingintroduction from the Glasgow author (see feature) published for the first time on Mon 29 Apr. They vary from the wordy cell-block rhetoric of Hardie and Baird to the cautious Pinteresque minimalism of The Busker
, and In The/Night. lt'sa shame that his translation of The Prowler isn‘t here. but an interesting collection nontheless.
3 States of 1
Mark Fisher nips out of the stalls to report on the current glut ofAmerican drama playing on the Scottish stage.
Americans do like their naturalism.
. A random sample of the US plays
currently in production reminds you that New York‘s experimental
Wooster Group, seen last year
regurgitating the debris of modern junk culture at Glasgow‘s Tramway,
is not just strange, but a statistical
freak. The inﬂuence of Hollywood movies and theatrical giants like Eugene O‘Neill and Arthur Miller has played its part, but the American taste for authentic reproduction of daily life was established long before the big artistic movements of this century.
There‘s nothing wrong with the form when used as a vehicle for a playwright‘s true vision — it is hard to think of a modern play more emotionally and intellectually engaging than any ofthe great naturalistic tragedies ofArthur Miller. for example — but when it becomes obsessed with mundane detail. with ‘interesting' characterisation and wry observation. the theatrical appeal can be quickly killed. Besides. movies do that stuff far better.
I‘ve not seen the film version of Driving Miss Daisy. but Alfred Uhry's script was written for the stage and. on the strength of the current touring production. it's impossible to imagine either why it was a 1988 Pulitzer-prize winner or why the movie picked up four Oscars. It‘s
, just too inoffensive to get worked up
about. Vaguer anti-racist in intent. it traces the 24-year relationship between a well-to-do old lady and the man hired as a chauffeur when
Mourning Becomes Electra
her eyesight fails.
A sort of Long Car Journey Into Nowhere. it‘s mildly amusing and thoroughly enjoyed by the elderly King‘s audience. but dead forgettable. I think it’s meant to be the kind of ‘touching comedy" that keeps Carla Lane in big houses. but leaves me trying to remember why live performance is cracked up to be so good.
The cumbersomely-named Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune. by Terrence McNally. is founded on a similarly slight concept: two middle-aged workmates get together for a bout ofcasual sex. but hang around and. yes. bang around. until. hey. they start to get to know each other. This one is a Long Night's Journey Into Day. lacking ()‘Neill‘s ability to slowly peel away the onion layers ofa character. but compensating with engaging dialogue and. in this case. sterling performances by Terry Neason and Benny Young.
(‘umbernauld Theatre‘s production. directed by Liz Carruthers. is solid and convincing — the accents are the most accurate of the recent run of Stateside drama. including those ofthe National Theatre — and if it fails to raise chuckles where you'd expect them. it‘s because ofour unfatnilarity with the New York frame of reference and not the tightly-paced. sharply-timed performances. Engrossing and brash. it’s more
3 substantial than Driving Miss Daisy.
but doesn‘t have much going on below its naturalistic surface.
And so to the (‘itizens‘ Theatre where Eugene ()‘Neill‘s Mourning Becomes Electra shows that there‘s no need for naturalism to be
Frankie And Johnnie In The Clair De Lune
stultifying. I suspect I saw it on a slightly off-night. but I think it‘s true to say that director Philip l’rowse has opted to take out the exclamation marks from ()‘Neill‘s script. where the recent National Theatre Long Day 's Journey Into .V'ight resolutely kept them in. The problem with the latter was that by the end of the performance. the audience had had all the drama it could cope with and the denouement was weakened. ('onversely by playing it down. l’rowse misses much of the emotional resonance carried by O‘Neill‘s melodramatic style.
The play remains a gripping tragedy of epic proportions but. in a drama about a fated family blood—line in which murders are ten-a~penny. there is too little sense of the lingering ghosts of previous generations. l lad Glenda Jackson as matriarch (‘hristine Mannon been able to make more of an impact in the first two acts. and had Georgina l lale as daughter Lavinia not acted like Bette Davies in a noirish melodrama. the whole might have been more emotionally absorbing. As it stands. it is an uneven ride that retains a charge ofdanger on
: sensitive issueslike death andincest. ' but that pulls too many punches to be ; ' totallychilling.
I )ri ring Miss Daisy, seen at King 's Theatre, lit/inlntrg/t, showing at King 's Theatre. Glasgow; Mon 29
Apr—Sat 4 May.
Frankie and Johnny in the ('Iair (le Lune, seen at Tron Theatre. Glasgow, now at ( 'umbernaultl Theatre until Sat .30 A pr.
. Mourning Becomes lileetra.
( 'itizens' Theatre. (ilasgoii', until Sat
manag— CHANGED DAYS
Seen at Portobello Town Hall. On Tour. . . . I say you can’t beat a good play about memories, but you know nostalgia’s not all it used to be and if
. you ask me, plays were a lot better than 3 they are now, although they used to ; have some cracking ones, what about
the Gorbal's Story, eh, and thatAlan Spence, he turned out a few good 'uns, but they weren't always to my taste,
take that Changed Days, he didn't seem E
to know what he was going on about in that, I’m not saying it was full of cliches, but there was a real sense of community in those days, but mind it wasn't all roses, except there were some great characters around the High
The Royal Lyceum's Changed Days
Street, but I don't approve of this tourist industry that makes a profit from the past, although you must admit it brings in money to the area and the Fringe groups, well they get on my nerves with all those political revues and the strange things at the Traverse, but you've got to admit it brings the place to life and gives the Royal Lyceum
actors a chance to jolly up their performance, but do you notthink we’re getting a bit rose tinted again, ‘cos I used to have an outside loo and it was sad moving to a scheme and do you remember the Coronation when we all bought black and white tellies and grandad was very old fashioned, except the damp in Wester Hailes, well that makes me really political, but forget aboutthe Festival in Edinburgh, we’ll have our own jumble sale right here, but it‘s not the same sense of community now that the nice folk have moved away, although we've still got our memories and a few second-rate jokes and the Andrews Sisters, well I always liked them, and did I evertell
Street‘. . . (Mark Fisher)
you about the sanitation in the High
48 The List 19 April — 2 May 1991