This is Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and not Robin Hood Men in 'lig/tts, so exchanges like A: ‘l‘m burning with love‘. B: ‘Don‘t make a fuel out of yourself '. are sadly far and few

: between. This may have something to i do with the possession of good taste or ; the fact that this venue is mostly patronised by coach parties and there‘s : only so much the Coatbridgc Girl‘s Brigade can take before they get swept away by mass hysteria.

So. instead of the jokes and the out-to- audience business. there's a lot of sword fights and people swinging from

ropes and things, all very Kevin Costner and very appealing to Coatbridge pre-pubescents. but personally I couldn‘t quite overcome the fear that one of the actors would have the other‘s eye out with the end of his sword.

In between these sharp intakes of breath. the accomplished cast sing accomplished songs set to some wonderfully dramatic music. Maybe it‘s not panto in the purest sense. but the audience seem to be screaming too loudly to notice. If you ever want to understand how easily fascism takes hold then watch a pre-teen audience when there‘s an evil somebody standing behind the leading lady.

If you see it. take ear muffs. (Stephen

' ' (Chester)

Cumberttuuld Theatre. (.‘tmtbemuultl. Until Fri 24 Dee.


One day. if they‘ve not done so already. someone will devote a thesis to the metrical composition of the work of

' Forbes Masson. When they do so. the

3 Tron‘s Snow White will be a centrally important text. for it contains lyrics of

such dynamic poetry that it is impossible not to be banged into critical dumbness by them. Take. for instance. the song in which our hero explains his unusual desire ~ but hell. we live in liberal times - for the snow woman he‘s just created. The lines go; ‘You‘re my bee-low/Ze-ro/Hee-ro-inc.‘ Such audacity of scansion is matched by the boldness with which the other elements of the show are conceived. from the speaking toilet (which occasionally eats people) to the theatrical catnp ofthe gag-laden script ‘I hope he's alright‘ says our hee-ro- ine. just before a dummy of our hero is hurled from the balcony onto the stage. Any panto in which characters discuss. at length. the erotic appeal of Kirsty Wark is alright as far as I‘m concerned. and the general broad appeal of the piece is such that only Warkophobics will be disappointed. The whole manic celebration is held together by the unbounded charisma of Tony Cownie, while Paul Blair. a rising star ifcvcr there was one. suitably plays a shooting one (he‘s dressed like one and he‘s got guns. gettit‘.’). The whole thing’s like that. Truly. the darue of all pantos. (Stephen Chester) Tron 'l'ltetttt'e. Glasgow: Until Sat 8 Jun.


The Arches, Glasgow. Until Sat 4 Dec. Fritz Lang’s silent epic, the tale of armies of homogenous workers driven to revolt by a renegade robot which was aped by Queen in their ‘Radio Ga Ga’ video, is an astounding celluloid vision of Things To Come. Andy Amold’s and Ian Smith’s adaptation of this spectacular, anbitious film, subtitled ‘The Theatre Gut’, does not purport to be a direct theatrical translation, but an interpretation. Nevertheless, the production captures not just the themes and the mood but much of the silent movie ethos.

Anyone who’s frequented The Arches, walked through its cavernous bunkers, clumped across its stone floors, seen its air vents and heard the trains rumble overhead can already appreciate the feel of the piece, even without reckoning on the inventiveness of designer Graham Hunter. He has the ever-watchable Andrew Uallmeyer as evil Metropolis overlord Frederson staring omnisciently from a video screen as the audience, on promenade, enter his soul-destroying domain. Frederson’s elevated office is reminiscent of Ian Rolm’s in ‘Brazil’; Rotwang’s laboratory is embellished with a plasma ball. Everything captures the quaint futurism of the film perfectly.

Angie night as Maria, the tender dissident on whom Rotwang models. his robot, is every bit the baby doll silent film star, from her startled eyes to her stilted, exaggerated movements. There’s a brilliantly observed moment when, as the robot, she cloyingly embraces the stuffy Frederson - it’s a classic cinematic pose. Aside from her contributions, the dramatic high-point comes in The House of Sin when the audience are invited to ioln the hedonists watching a blitherlng stand-up - Charlie Chuck meets Jerry Sadowitz - and a

. ventriloquist act, before the rioting j workers upturn the joint.

The superb soundtrack, specially é composed and arranged by Ronan Breslin, underscores the mute action in much the same way that Graig : Armstrong’s cello arrangements enhanced The Tron’s moody Mayfest - ‘Macbeth’. An orchestral ensemble lend a Nyrnanesque baroque feel to The Garden of Delight, then guitar and 2 percussion resonate bleakly through 3 Workers’ Gity, far surpassing Giorgio l Moroder’s film score. . This ‘Metropolis’ is thrilling to E behold and gripping in execution. (Fiona Shepherd)




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, Royal lyceum, Edinburgh. Until Sat 11

; Dec.

, I’ve never thought of The Master

.fi Builder as being anything like as funny

i as it becomes under the control of

5 actor and co-director Brian Cox. Re

1 doesn’t exactly turn it into knock-

; about farce, but through the actor’s

little quirks and character ticks,

i lbsen’s play spins off the page to reveal something considerably more

i sparky than the llordic angst you’d



(in Tom Piper’s airy, period set, whose delicate lines of wood front a summery acreage of cotton sheets,

i the stocky Gox plays the paranoid llalvard Solness, dancing about on

loose-limbed legs to divert us from his

hidden motives. Outside the Festival,

, it’s rare to see an actor of such

3 presence on the Royal lyceum stage.

3 And though Cox is a generous

? performer he doesn’t upstage - his

; mystery charisma ingredient makes it

! a challenge for the rest of the

= company to keep up. This they do with

T varying degrees of success: Siri Neal

i brings stature to the difficult silly-

little-girl role of Hilde, the obsessive

i twentysomething with a ten-year

vendetta, while Andy McEwan as

Ragnar, the thwarted apprentice,

1 struggles to breathe life into his more

i creaky lines (not really his fault; the

i play is over-ripe for a fresh

5 translation).

5 In between the two, the actors give

i muscular performances, but somehow

g the play itself fails to hold our

attention. Once llalvard’s dilemma is

. explained '- his fear of youth and his

a knowledge that success has gone

I hand in hand with selfishness - and once the cast has volleyed through a few dextrous verbal rallies, the production doesn’t keep track of Ibsen’s shift to a more symbolic plain. Having spent the evening admiring Gox’s performance skills, I found myself surprisingly unconcerned about his character’s tragic end. The show is well worth seeing but, perhaps because the llordic angst wins out, its conclusion is, sadly, unresolved. (Mark Fisher)

mam— oou JUAN

Gitizens’ Theatre, Glasgow. Until Sat 11 Dec.

Garlo Goldoni knew what worked with an audience. llis lion Juan, freshly translated by director Robert David

MacDonald and performed for the first time in Britain at the Gitz, is made from block-buster ingredients: sex and violence, good and evil, low comedy and high histrionics. Two-hundred- and-fifty-years on, however, it also seems to have a fair dollop of melodrama and not a little plot creakiness.

This Don Juan, played by a pony- tailed Andrew Wilde, is an arrogant, slippery, slightly seedy character, an upper-class charmer playing emotional Russian roulette with the wronged women who trail in his wake - boisterous performances from Andrea flart, Angela Ghadfield and Mairead Barty which makes the drama less a cheeky romp than a salutary morality play. Wilde does an amusing job at showing how a disreputable character can also be thoroughly captivating, while the women play off him passionately without being reduced to ciphers.

if MacDonald’s production is a success - and it is very enjoyable while it lasts - it is in the way it disguises the play’s more crudely fashioned elements either with a dash of post-modernist irony or by substituting low-key naturalism for

up-front asides. That it is a cover-up is ;

its limitation, that it is boldly played and drny funny is its entertaining achievement. (Mark Fisher)

l l

The List .i 16 December I993 41