; Traverse, Edinburgh. Until Sat29 Jun.
= Recent communitytheatrein
Edinburgh has proved surprisingly
l durable. The Grassmarket Project‘s
; Glad, for example, has cropped up
i repeatedly over the past year in spite of : its reliance on non-professional actors. And it's good to see the return of
Oxygen House‘s first performance
2 project after its short debut run at the Netherbowjustoverayearago.
An absorbing study of the sexual underworld of a city (it happens to be Edinburgh), Trade deals with unhappy
lifestyles, like the homelessness of Glad,that run paralleltothosein
mainstream society. The thesis of the piece, scripted by Louise lronside and June Taylor, isthat economic circumstance underlies the web of male and female prostitution, leaving those involved vulnerable to further abuse and exploitation. The play doesn't resolve anything, providing no answers, but it does take an uncompromising, clear-headed look at life in our own back yard today and it is good to see it playing to a wider audience.
The move to the Traverse from the even smaller space of the Netherbow, has allowed directorJohn Mitchell to bring the action forward into the midst of the audience, adding an engaging dimension to the piece. Like the best amateurtheatre, the production plays to the strengths of the company by keeping the script snappy and to-the-point and by using the cast to create scene-setting or atmospheric tableauxto complement Oxygen House's characteristic mood music and brutal lighting. Having decided to concentrate on illustrative scenes rather than a tight narrative. the play is weaker atthe points where it tries to weave in dramatic events; without the back-up of fully-drawn characters in a linear plot, these can seem trite and contrived.
A minor criticism, though, in a production which challengesthe
audience, with theatrical flair, to look
Trade at the Traverse
head-on at problems we choose to ignore in real life. (Mark Fisher)
[330E_ THE HIRED MAN
St Bride's Centre, Edinburgh. Until Sat 29June
The commitment that the Edinburgh Music Theatre Company elicits from its members is evident in this production. Not only is there meticulous attention to detail and overall coherence, but these enthusiastic amateur actors
perform with far more emotional
conviction than many a jaded professional.
Adapted from Melvyn Bragg’s novel, The Hired Man follows the fortunes of an ordinary Cumbrian family caught on the treadmill of working life at the turn
of the century. The only punctuation in
their drudgery is the horror of the First World War, and yet they manage to transcend the distorting effects of unremitting poverty and back-breaking labour with dignity and humour. I cannot agree with Bragg that this is a story rarely told, and in musical form it could be horribly cliched and sentimental. Thanks, though, to the strong, and above all sincere, performances of this cast, his evocation seems authentic and moving.
The production retains a real feeling of intimacy in its depiction of the protagonists, who are very much individuals, but exploits the chorus, always busy acting out their own parallel dramas, to convey the fact that this is the story of a whole generation weighed down by an iniquitous historical situation. Likewise, lyrical solos are balanced by rousing choral numbers, each delivered with enough conviction to render any technical flaws unimportant. The choreographer manages to shift the 35-strong cast around the stage with minimum fuss and maximum effect, and the imaginative use of space introduces a welcome element of surprise.
And, wonder of wonders, the Cumbrian accents never flagged.
63 Trongate Box Office :
Until 30 June - 7.30pm
Dorothy Paul's One-Woman Show
SEE THAT'S HER
Tickets 2550/2250 conc No concs. Fri/Sat.
EXTENDED DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND 9 - 14 July at 7.30pm
Tue 2 - Sun 7 July - 7.30pm
I COVER THE WATERFRONT
A One-Woman Show onthe
Life and Music of Billie Holiday
With Suzanne Bonnar Tickets 2550/2250 conc No concs. Fri/Sat.
FESTIVAL T-SHIRT OFFER SEE FILM SECTION
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK DELICIOUS NEW MENU
SEASON FUNDED BY Strathclyde Regional Council
GORBALS 041-429 0022 GLASGOW
STRATHOLYDE SUMMER SEASON 1991
WILDCAT STAGE PRODUCTIONS
THE CHEVIOT, THE STAG AND THE BLACK, BLACK on
by John McGrath , 9 - 27 JULY
of} fins 1‘ Tiff . , ;
‘ -. - ‘ -- ‘ “I” -‘ é‘i‘..m r... " ALL SEATS £5 ' SII'DENTS £1 ° OAPS & “EMPLOYED FREE
The List ZSJunc — l l Jul)~ NO! 59