mar- Don’t Fool
Cheek by Jowl One ofCheek by .lowl‘s contributions to British theatre is undoubtedly its habit of unearthing the kind of mainstream European drama that has gone largely ignored here. Don 't Foal with Love is director Declan Donnellan‘s own translation of French Romantic writer Alfred dc Musset’s study of romance and hypocrisy and it‘s a tribute to his (and the company‘s) talents that the dialogue flows as smoothly and naturally as any modem play.
Michael Sheen and Maria Miles are the sparring lovers Perdican and Camille (whose attritional relationship is apparently drawn, with male/female reversal. from de Mussct‘s own with the tempestuous novelist George Sand); the resolutely honest Camille plans to enter a convent. while Perdican is entranced both by her beauty and his own seductiveness.
While their discussions. confrontations. and revelations, which make up the meat of the drama. produce the considered atmosphere typical ofthe cinema of Rohmer, de Musset counterpoints the elaborate emotional jockeying of the central pair with the broad humour of anticlerical satire; his two churchmen Blazius and Bridaine (David Foxxe and Brian Pettifer) are superb comic creations. each drunkenly attempting to oust the other from Perdican‘s aristocratic father's favour.
The company delivers the complex narrative with a performance of seamless ensemble excellence and. while there‘s nothing startlingly original in Donnellan's staging. the pleasant musical punctuation and polished circular action make for a conﬁdent and thoroughly enjoyable production. (Andrew Pulver)
Don't Fan! with Love. seen at I)anmar
Ware/muse Theatre. London. playing at Tran Theatre. Glasgow, Tue I 8—Sat 22
Beatrice Colin trips out at Mayfest.
Two local performance groups. two multi-media experiences. two very different trips. Sabotage is the kind of show that reads well; an unclassiﬁable extravaganza. boldly going where no theatre space has gone before. But NVA has made the huge theatrical space in Tramway into little more than a gloriﬁed ghost train. Groups of twenty or so people are shepherded through the space into twelve environments representing assorted parts of the body or consciousness to watch short performances or experience something.
The trip is sometimes fun. stumbling around in the dark little passageways lit by strobes or ﬁlled with dry ice. getting tangled up in coloured muslin and running along walkways twenty feet up. But this is a big budget production. not a funfair ride or a rave. so what else do we get? 'l‘welve performance groups or artists putting on short pieces including robots hitting instruments, naked men clinging to polystyrene rock. simulated sex and stacks of dissolving slides.
Unfortunately they seem to be little more than side-shows in the director‘s imagination. if they do have anything worth saying. it is incoherent and drowned out in the bombastic nature of the whole.
After 90 minutes. many quite boring. the dead Elvis at the end is almost too
much to bear. Dressed in a nappy, spouting Glaswegian-tinged American. he lolls on a ﬁbreglass set and sings a few songs. With the cringeing embarrassment felt at bad fringe productions. the end seems too long to wait for. l was drunk at the start. stone cold sober at the end. and realised that the audience are simply pawns in a production that revolves around cheap thrills and expensive egos.
.S'mnewltere by Clanjamfrie is a much more modest affair. Commissioned by the CCA. it is a short performance piece with three people. some video and ﬁlm equipment. and a record collection. Based on the myth ofthe fairy-tale happy ending. the show presents characters — a Prince. a Princess and Cinderella — yearning for something else — to fly across Africa in a bi-plane. to fall in love or to ride through America on a motorbike. In the l meantime, they sit and talk, drink
tequila slarnmers and dream on.
Using signs. interviews. straight-to- camera dialogue, music. a simple
live sex on stage in Sabotage
pantomime set. and a script which mixes shopping at Safeway with profound questions like ‘Why can‘t I stop living in the future'?'. the piece is ﬁrmly rooted in 90s culture where nostalgia meets despair.
Yet Clanjamfrie doesn‘t overstretch itself and manages to operate on a number of levels. The obvious low budget and small audience-capacity has meant that director Emma Davie has used the intimacy of the space and experimented with every available resource. Toys. an exercise bike and cheap. tinny radios and music boxes give the piece a kitsch charm. while the use of video, ﬁlm clips and spot lights reflects a culture obsessed with itself and its own supposed immortality. .S'mneii'ltere is an inventive. touching and often very funny piece which proves that ideas will always be more valuable than spectacle.
Sabotage. Tramway. Glasgow. until Fri 7 May.
Somewhere. CCA. Glasgow. until Sat 8 May.
A NIGHT AT THE SARHY
Seen at Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow. (in Tour.
Or to be more precise, three nights at the Sarry. Our introduction to this archetypal Glasgow boozer occurs during Mayfest 1990, when Wee Sammy Bruce the waster has gained fame with the mouthie for his ‘City Of Culture Theme Tune’, and is about to let a film crew study his natural habitat and friends. What happens next is Act Two and what happens in the long run, Act Three, set in Mayfest 1993.
A clothes-line plot such as this is hardly likely to emboss itself upon the blood memory of the Scottish people, but the gags get pegged up at such a furious rate that no one really seems to care. At points the show could almost reach moments of pathos too, if it wasn’t for an audience who seem to have spent the interval snorting nitrous oxide and won’t let a moment pass without some form of hysterical response. They are only to be silenced in those mercifully brief moments when the cast is required to stare moist-eyed toward the tec-box and deliver state-of-the-nation addresses.
This is primarily a comedy of
A flight at the Sarry
recognition and, even if the audience seemed to recognise a lot more than I did, i was nonetheless enslaved to chuckledom by the constant barrage of scatological humour. (Stephen Chester)
PAHTICK THISTLE FOOTBALL CRAZY
Arches Theatre, Glasgow. Until Sun 9 May. Take a football team for masochists, a bit of its history, a few anecdotes, a couple of songs, mix with Viz-like vigour and produce 90 minutes devoted to the funny side of The Game. David Belcher’s Mayfest debut is a musical cabaret about Glasgow’s football underdogs, the Jags.
It’s performed by four yellow and red
strip-wearing players and a goalie. Behind them, an open goal on a raised platform is a grim reminder of the team’s lack of success. For as we soon find out, this is a team who win against Celtic one week, only to be beaten 5-0 by Cowdenbeath FC the next. Hope is always there, it just has a warped sense of humour.
Belcher’s script mixes the silly with the poignant. A player in 3 Kevin Keegan wig does a ‘mazey dribble’, around the stadium, out of the front door, into his house and starts writing his memoirs. Football chants are discussed by two intellectuals, one with a startling resemblance to Belcher, and mock religious sermons are given on the nature of losing. 0n the flip side, Belcher tries to make a few serious points; he explores the sense of community between the followers, which can be stronger than family bonds, and the non-sectarian bent of the team.
Although really a play for fans, with references to specific players and past matches, this is an entertaining production, well kicked around by the actors, and directed with a certain haphazard style by Grant Smeaton. Belcher’s script is hit or miss, but written with such blatant adoration that by the end we all have a place in our hearts reserved for Partick Thistle. (Beatrice Colin)
52 The List 7—20 May W93