Forbes Masson. Robert Carr and Wendy Seager in The Real Wurld
THE REAL WURLD
Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Until Sun 2 Jun.
You‘ve every right to be wary of plays about undiscovered playwrights. It's the obvious subject matter for any undiscovered playwright who is short ofideas. and it almost invariably leads to self-pitying. indignant and irrelevant outpourings.
Not so with Michel Tremblay‘s The Real Wurld which is given a fresh Glaswegian translation from the original Quebeceois by Bill Findlay and Martin Bowman and directed by Michael Boyd. it‘s a clever. moving and ironic play-within-a-play in which a young man‘s autobiographical ﬁrst work runs parallel to his ‘real' family‘s domestic tragedy. Operating on several levels. Tremblay raises academic questions about art. artifice and censorship at the same time as the more emotionally charged issues of incest. adultery and communication breakdown.
Gregory Smith‘s design perfectly recreates a mid-60s living room. neatly opening up to include an operative shower room and featuring semi- transparent curtains pulled across the front of the stage to blur the line between fantasy and reality. Sporting man-made fibres a-plenty. the excellent cast — two mothers. two daughters. two fathers. one playwright — comfortably inhabit the same space; halfofthem suffering the anguished silences and inarticulacy of real life. while their doppelgdngers engage in the explosive drama ofthe stage.
The shitting focus demands concentration. but its a tremendously rewarding play culminating in a real chill as the stubborn
irresolution of ‘the real wurld‘ wins out over the neat catharsis oftheatre. (Mark Fisher)
_ THE EVIL ooens
Seen at The Mitchell Theatre. Glasgow. On Tour Now this is original. The dulcet tones of Axl Rose and the whining guitars of Guns N‘ Roses‘ Sweet Child of Mine are not the usual precursors to a night in the theatre. The Evil Doers set-changes are thereafter accompanied by various ‘tunes‘ by G‘n‘R. But the menace which these bad boys of rock create far overshadows anything that occurs once the acting begins.
The story is one ofa Glaswegian cabbie who attempts to give tours around his cultural city (it is. after all. set in 1990). But the lack of interest in his venture has led him into the welcoming ﬁsts of the neighbourhood shark.
Chris Hannah‘s script can. occasionally. be inspiring. There‘s little in the way of patronising the lower classes as both Susan (the friend) and Tracky (the daughter) are lucid in spite ofbeing wasters and drop-outs. But if the ‘common people‘ escape condescension. Glasgow itself is not so lucky. The whole premise is that Glasgow‘s Year of Culture was one bigjoke. taking place within a city whose main claims to
fame are Parkhead Forge and vast amounts ofurban development potential (waste ground to you and me).
The Evil Doers won two major awards for its run in London and is touted as ‘hilarious‘ in the programme. It isn‘t. And an indication ofwhyit won all those London critic awards is provided by a combination of London Standard and Telegraph reviews: ‘wonderful ear for quirky. vernacular dialogue‘. ‘moving depiction of the
character of a city.‘ When
. have those reviewers ever
been to Glasgow? This isn‘t a depiction of the character of a city but a caricature and an insulting one at that. (Philip Parr)
BAD AND CRAZY IN A JAM
Seen at the Old Alhenaeum Theatre, Glasgow. On tour. From the Funny Farm‘s alternative comedy stable — and proving the point that sometimes it really does mean an alternative to comedy. The manic pace of Parrot's wild-eyed delivery and the endearing cosiness of his sidekick. Fred MaeAulay. have undoubtable potential, but both are wasted on an unoriginal. unambitious and puerile script. about two madmen in an electronic repairs shop.
At best the showbrings a snigger. at worst disgust at the cheap visual effects and routines which could have been borrowed from Jasper Carrot or Russ Abbott. Guaranteed not to offend anyone. Bad and Crazy are also a safe bet not to make anyone but the undentens laugh. Perhaps if you‘re organising a children‘s party. . .(Andrea Baxter)
MAN AND SUPERMAN
Citizens' Theatre until Salt June.
Having already ﬂirted with Jesus and Glenda Jackson this season. the Citizens‘ Theatre tackles that other great socialist. George Bernard Shaw. Whereas Jesus (and. i suppose. Ms Jackson) is the epitome of tolerance. Man and Superman is all about righteous indignation and outraged respectability.
Jack Tanner is a libertine; a pocketbook socialist who also happens to have written a pocket book on socialism. Paul Mooney. with cocked hat and permanently etched cynicism. is ideal for the
,;,-,g, ., 3 Robert David Ma
:1 '. -
cDonald takes his turn on
role. He wafts through the play giving just the right impression of a leader of men and a plaything of women. The only one who can hold onto his coat-tails is'his chauffeur. Straker. played with commendable savoir-faire by Gerard lloran. The interaction between this unusual master and servant gives the play its comic high points.
The impressive set comes straight offan Esher drawing board — all slightly askew vanishing points and implausible archways — and the action which takes place below the watchful eye ofG.B.S. is jolly enough. Most of the ingredients are there with Robert David MacDonald and. especially. Venetia Barrett turning in fine stuffy performances. Hermione Norris beguiling as Tanner‘s pursuer and a pacy direction keeping the actors on their toes.
But the sum ofthis production doesn‘t quite live up to the potential of its parts. The lengthy dream sequence has a tendency to become verbose and the important characters of Violet and Hector become annoyingly peripheral. Without Paul Mooney to drive the show along these faults could have become intolerable. As he is on such form. however. they dim rather than obliterate an entertaining night‘s theatre. (Philip Parr)
Seen at Milton Community Education Centre. Glasgow. Ontoun
in 1840 the death ofa repressive railway ganger at the hands ofa mob of poor lrish labourers who were brought over to build the Glasgow to Edinburgh line and who had set out to teach him a lesson. sparked lurid newspaper headlinesand a huge police manhunt. Three men were eventually captured - though the evidence against them was about as solid as that
against the Birmingham Six a century later — and two were hanged in Glasgow before a crowd of 100.000 after a one-day trial.
John and Willy Maley have dramatised this fascinating story from the court transcripts ofthe time without adding too much to it. and the result. in this production by Milton Arts and Parts. isa model of community drama at its best: a strong local ﬂavour. a committed. enthusiastic and talented cast. and a professional. if not ﬂashy. production. At times the Irish accents may slip a little and there are a few not entirely necessary scenes. but on the whole i feel loath to criticise an excellent show which deserves a much bigger audience. (Andrea Baxter)
THE GLASS PALACE/ OPENING NIGHT
Southside Drama Group. Seen at Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre, Glasgow. On tour.
it seems churlish to complain about a production that costs 50p to get into. but franklyl think Southside Drama should have paid the audience to sit through this. While no one has the same expectations of amateur shows as they have of professional productions. certainly the first play here should never have been allowed on stage. A trite tale ofold folk in the Botanic Gardens. it has no emotional truth and the acting is painfully bad; the dialogue is tortuously enunciated until any relation to real speech is gone.
Thankfully. Opening Night. which flatters the reviewer with a sadly unrealistic story about a theatre company desperate to ensure a top critic isn't swayed by personal emotions into looking unfavourany on the production. is by far an improvement. ifonly by contrast. This has the merit oftwo fine performances (from Theresa Lennox as the leading actress and (‘arole Andrew as a washed-up lush) and the cast. though there are one or two puddles of inaudibility. is trying to create something interesting to non-relatives. Of course there‘s the argument that no matter how bad. community drama at least gets people out to the theatre. but actually I think they‘d be much more stimulated watching Neighbours. (Andrea
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
DNE FLEW OVER THE CUCKDD’S NEST
Glasgow Arts Centre. Until Fri 24 May.
Any production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo ’s Nest is bound to live in the shadow of Milos Forman‘s 1975 movie. ForJack Nicholson‘s compelling screen performance alone. that film maintains its grip on your memory. So it‘s pleasing to report that this stage adaptation. working in a Scottish setting from both Dale Wasserman‘s play and Ken Kesey‘s novel. but diverging little from the film. holds its own while re-creating much ofthe anti-authoritarian charge.
Banded together asa new company called Rain Dog. a remarkable fifteen of Scotland‘s best actors perform behind chicken wire. couped up in a mental institution where a strict regime is disguised as therapeutic democracy. Alexander Morton bravely takes the Nicholson role ofthe prison con hoping that a spell in the loony bin will be a soft option. but who discovers to his cost that the system isn‘t so easily subverted. He plays McMurphy as a stocky. Glasgow hard man. less equivocal than Nicholson. but sufficiently charismatic to anchor the activities of the ward around him.
Early on. the action lacks focus as the inmates wander the stage and shufﬂe in their seats under Robert Carlyle‘s strictly naturalistic direction. But the production settles down as the protagonists become defined and the politics become evident about a psychiatric system that uses mental intimidation as a means of control.
Working on exactly the same level as the film. although missingthe comedy of the outdoor sequence. Rain Dog might not bring anything particularly new to the piece. but strong acting and atmospheric setting ensure an engaging night at the theatre. (Mark Fisher)
stage in Man and Superman at The Citizens' Theatre
The List 17— 30May 199123