THE HOME SHOW PIECES
Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow. Until Sun 27 Sept.
The Home Show Pieces may be billed as tour snapshots in the liie oi its central character, but by its time-and-space-iuggling conclusion it's taken on the academic air oi an anatomy oi the playwriting process. As Frank, a struggling writer, hogs the bog while role-playing his way through the primetime chatshow interview he'll never be famous enough to secure, as his ringing bedside phone persistently interrupts a decent evening’s wank sesh, are we privy to the actual event or are we watching the matinee oi his new autobiographical play that his Aunt Ruth thinks she can get downtown to attend? Is this the real thing or have we bypassed it to witness Frank’s dramatised version, with each line roadtested repeatedly to ensure vernacular authenticity (his mentor is that king oi circular repetition Samuel Beckett)?
li it's the latter, the audience has to conclude that Frank will be burning the midnight oil in his humble garret ior some time to come, such is the imbalance in characterisation. He has himsell played credibly, while the people surrounding him are drawn as rough-hewn caricatures- particularly Aunt Ruth, a Jewish-American version oi British Telecom's Beatiie. And it it's the lormer, any overall dramatic point to the piece is obscured in iavour oi recording the banality oi everyday speech patterns. So which came iirst, the play orthe reality? (Fiona Shepherd)
Andrea Baxter watches as books by Burgess and Banks get the theatre treatment.
There are new productions of two classic cult novels in Glasgow this month: Anthony Burgess’s dated teen violence shocker. A Clockwork Orange. and lain Banks‘s sicko animal violence comedy. The Wasp Factory, perhaps appealing to the same audience but in performance quite different.
TAG goes for a worthy approach with a well thought-out investigation ofBurgess’s moral fable. Stuart Bowman’s Alex becomes a pathetic pawn of the state. its callous manipulation of him worse than the mindless thuggery of his gang of Droogs as he is brainwashed. exploited and abandoned by the cynical government minister and sinister doctor. who change him from vicious tearaway to vulnerable pacifist. There are plenty of interesting themes here and, after a painful start. TAG develops them briskly with a vibrant use of dance.
I couldn’t say I enjoyed the show though. A deadening nihilism permeates as the corruption mounts
- the only figures who protest are an
alcoholic chaplain and an ineffectual writer. eventually driven to violence himself. There‘s an unrelieved adolescent ugliness about Burgess‘s vision of the world which is too black and white to be convincing. And after portraying a society riven by alienation. the sort-ofhappy ending seems like a bad joke.
Over at the Citz, all the jokes are good in The Wasp Factory. as Malcolm Sutherland‘s adaptation not only manages to get in all the important bits ofthe novel. but reminds you of how funny Banks‘s book was. Having two actors play the role of Frank off against each other works well. as the misanthropic youth with a penchant for killing small relatives recounts his weird family life on a remote Scottish island. Guiding his actions by
complicated insect death rituals. he worries about the arrival of his psychiatric hospital-escaped brother. who burns dogs in a personal jihad to revenge Frank‘s castration by one as a child.
Yes. the plot is bizarre. but the inventive staging. using video monitors. gas masks and voice-overs to represent the other characters. and the excellent cast (especially Daniel lllsley and Simon McCallum as the unseen Eric) sweeps the audience into sympathy with it. There are no big themes or dissections of society here. just good. enjoyable theatre.
A Clock work Orange, seen at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow. on tour. The Wasp Factory. Citizens" Theatre. Glasgow. until Sun 2 7 Sept.
m I Only superficially to do with madness. the play is really about the politics of
power and the vulnerability ofthe constitution. While Nigel Hawthorne‘s King George rants. burbles and curses, the forces of
THE MADNESS 0F GEORGE Ill
lf history plays make you think of deathly costume dramas, all period
facedness and banal _ . - - - . mtocratic detail‘ the" I parliamentary power Zigglctq)?d51ghtful lunacy check out The Madness of l ,rc'ahgn‘ COnSOI'qatc and‘ For )ilvin “the odd
i In some cases. swrtch g g
George III and think again. Thanks in equal measure to Nicholas Hytner‘s brisk direction and Alan Bennett's playful and amusing scn'pt, this Royal National Theatre production skates along with not a single lull in all its three hours.
allegiance to the Prince of Wales. But for as long as George III is the monarch, the sanity ofthe state itself is called into 9 question and there is many a bizarre scene of servants. doctors and attendants kowtowing to a
man who is clearly off his rocker.
Hawthorne gives a lively and assured performance, a compelling centre to a 30character play, ﬂicking ably through the gradations from eccentric
self-conscious joke here and there. it's an intelligent. rich and witty play. solidly built and robustly performed. (Mark Fisher)
The Madness of George III, King's Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 12 Sept.
WILDCAT on tour
A new production by Dave Anderson and David MacLennan
Tue 15 & Wed 16 DRUMCHAPEL Mercat Theatre
Thu 17 Fri 18 & Sat 19 Mon 21 Tue 22—Sat 26 Tue 29 Wed 30
ABERDEEN Arts Centre GLASGOW Mitchell Theatre CASTLEMILK Birgidale Complex EDINBURGH Traverse Theatre CATHCART Coupar Institute LINWOOD Tweedie Hall
Contact Wildcat on 041 951 1444 for details of tour dates in October and November
0224 635208/641 122
041 944 9022
041 227 5511 041 631 1161 031 228 1404 041 227 5511
THA’l‘ JACK BOUGHT
42 The List 11— 24 September 1992