Purple reign

Fiona Shepherd previews a celebration of Irish writing.

The Arches Theatre Company’s first ever production was Brian Friel’s Freedom Of The City, and as part of last year’s irish Festival it had a hit with Brendan Behan's Richard 's Cork Leg, so it's no surprise it should choose a Sean O'Casey play, Purple Dust, couple it with two events from the London lrish Festival and mount their own mini-celebration of lrish writing, both the new and the never-before-seen in Scotland.

Purple Dust, receiving its Scottish premiere, is out of print now, so even the most devout O'Casey enthusiast may not be familiar with this lightning- paced nugget, but fortunately l have been briefed on the salient plot details and they go something like this: two English businessmen buy a derelict mansion in rural lreland and, fuelled with visions of 40 shades of green leprechauns, employ local labourers to restore the property according to their hackneyed pseudo-romantic impressions of the locals.

’lt's a bizarre piece that i thought would fit in well with the style of fairly

I anarchic comedies we often tend to do '

- here,’ says director Andy Arnold. ‘lt I bases itself on the whole thing of the l 1 English imposing their culture . E oblivious to the local history which i goes back for more years than the . l culture of the English coionist, and then i when they’re confronted with it they g don’t know how to deal with it.‘

' The mood and pace of the play will be enhanced by the live accompaniment of L an ln'sh harp, played by Laoishe Kelly, formerly of the Davie Spillane Band,

while music of a different kind is the

basis for Men An Irish Musical, a

production from The Barrogs which

posits the idea that ‘men have always

been less than half the population but

. more than half the problem,‘ and on

this advertisement will surely be a work

of some genius. Finally ‘a Scottish/lrish ceilidh of ideas' is promised during an

aftemoon‘s celebration of women's writing on 12 March.

. Purple Dust. The Arches, Glasgow, Thurs 17 Feb-Sal 5 Mar.


The Arches Theatre, Glasgow. umn Sat

12 Feb.

In a city that embraced Reservoir Dogs

so utterly, and gave it such a protracted welcome, you’d have to offer up a real dog’s breakfast to go wrong with Glengarry Glen Ross, for it is Reservoir Dogs without the guns and the red liquid flowing from every wounded orifice.

It‘s an ensemble piece for men in sharp suits, suffocating in an environment that is their designated base, but one in which they can’t relax. So it happens to be an office and these men happen to be selling Real Estate ultimately it’s just an arena in which to play out the real issue: survival of the fittest.

Tension is the air that you breathe, nerves fray, expletives fly around like volleys from a machine gun. In this play, a forked tongue is the weapon, and it’s reputations that need protecting. Yes, and Glengarry Glen Ross has been adapted for film, and let’s face it, Reservoir Dogs could easily go the reverse route.

This is the Scottish premiere of David 7

Mamet’s play, suffused with the

keenly-observed accuracy of someone

who’s been there, done that (Harriet briefly worked in a Real Estate office in the late 508). Four agents are embroiled in a pitched sales battle. As the troubleshooter (John Kazek) mercilessly informs them, first prize is a Cadillac, second is the steak knives, third is you’re fired.

The four men have their distinct ways PM, a “mamnw'l "9 l" ""313

of handling the pressure - Roma (Vincent Friell) with oily guile, Aaronow (Stephen Cooper) like a startled bunny, Moss (Paul Blair) with

hard-nosed, bad-tempered resentment. But it’s the character of levene

i (Kenneth Bryans turning in the best performance in a high-calibre field) who is the most genuine - the Willy Loman of the group who simultaneously elicits sympathy and

' scorn in the audience with his pitifully f inflated sense of his worth to the

, company and desperate efforts to

: prove it. (Fiona Shepherd)

“331E- : THE sccono MRS ,rnuouanAv



Julie Legrand as the uecurial Mrs Tanqueray Q

j Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow. Until sat

19 Feb.

. There’s a line of argument going around that says that The Second Mrs

i Tanqueray is old-fashioned and out-of- } date. While it’s true to say that we do

; not find the notion of a woman “with a

' terms, it does strike me that there is

I nothing in Arthur Wing Pinero’s play

that doesn’t speak clearly and

i resonantly to us a century after it was

written. What is important, and in Philip Prowse's crisp production

; elegantly brought out, is that the

g play’s dilemmas, however

unperturbing to us, are penetratineg felt by all the characters. As long as

we accept their world, their social standards, their morality, there is no

; problem in us also accepting and

connecting with their emotions. The Second Mrs Tanqueray is about a marriage between a wealthy society

; gentleman, Aubrey Tanqueray, and an

5 ostensibly well-to-do woman, Paula, who despite her relatively young

' years, has a string of marriages and

sexual alliances already to her name.

5 This Aubrey accepts in theory, though .. in practice is unable to apply the

same liberal viewpoint either to his virginal daughter or to other women of supposed ill-repute. But the real interest of the play is less in its commentary on double-standards we all know that Victorians were

hypocrites - than it is in its study of a . woman wedged between her conflicting interests of personal

freedom and social duty and stultified

by a society that has rejected her.

Square pegs and round holes come to mind, and in Julie Legrand’s performance that fluctuates from high-spirited flippancy to hard-bitten cruelty, we see a fascinating and

; complex vision of a person out of

5 place and out of time. It is this sense

of alienation that we can still connect with, even if her eventual suicide

doesn’t satisy our feminist sensibilities, and in conjunction with Pinero’s brisk, witty writing, a judiciously edited script, finely measured perfomtances and Philip Prowse’s blotting-paper black set, it makes for a highly engaging evening. (Mark Fisher)



Fri 11 & Sat 12 Feb 7.45pm Yorkshire Theatre Co D E RRY D RY by Brian 8 Thompson Hilarious comic book look at the sport of kings

Thurs 17 - Sat 19 Feb 7.45pm Cumbernauid Junior Youth Theatre BRI llG RE 8 m

A 1950's rock 'n'roll musical

Wed 23 & Thurs 24 Feb 7.45pm Kaos Theatre II II II IE T by William ShakeSpeare

Fri 25 & Sat 26 Feb 7.00pm Cumbemauld Junior Youth Theatre B ll OVI E S 3 drort plays inspired by the worst of Hollywood!

Sat 26 Feb 7.45pm Take Two Productions SRIOfl lRflETTE

By Stuart Thomas

Tues 1 March 7.45pm TOIIIIY SmITR'S


KID'SSTUFF Saturday afternoons at 1. 15pm 19 February IIR ROM!


Author ofMaisie' stories

Fri 4 - Sat 26 March


A Festival of Celtic Arts

Hump” Family. Cdtic Craft Fair. arborlunzre. Whistlebinkr‘es. Dougie htLaan. Iron Horse. Slalobe Dubh

achestra. Mic-Talla, Battlefield Band. Irish Arts in London.

Full details from the Box Office

BOX OFFICE 0236 1 32887

i .3

The List 1 1—24 February l994