Bringing in the bacon
Billington was driven to alliteration by it. describing the show as a blend of ‘myth, mumming and music'. Wardle, despite his restricted column inches, went for a combination of ‘rustic simplicity with the tragic resonance of Lorca's Blood Wedding‘. De .longh appeared to be getting paid by the word so was short on the critical pith but found the whole thing gripping over a couple of paragraphs.
This unseemly raving was all due to the Galway-based Druid Theatre Company's production ofAt The Black Pig's Dyke, a title which all the reviewers featured seemed obliged to explain at some point. Apparently it‘s an ancient earthwork that divided the kingdom of Ulster from the South, so as well as being the geographical location of the play, it‘s also something of a metaphor. The area is also famous for its mummers. who sing and dance their way through simple allegorical dramas while dressed in large straw hats. in Catholic houses they have been known to enact the defeat of Saint George by Saint Patrick, while in Protestant homes they perform the defeat of King James by King William. Such a group are at the centre of Vincent Woods' play, but the drama begins when the versifying mummers find two corpses lying on a kitchen ﬂoor. The play then sets out to explore the cycles of violence which produce and are produced by this double murder, which stretch out over 75 years from the marriage of a Protestant shopkeeper and his Catholic servant girl.
All powerful stuff, which led even Brogan of the Evening Press (who complained she couldn't even see the murder from Row F) to ﬁnd herself being constantly reminded of Patrick Kavanagh by ‘metaphors and analogies (being) rooted in earthy. stark realism.‘ David Hanly. who hasn‘t seen anything good at the theatre for 30 years, says ‘Whatever you do, don't miss it.‘ (Stephen Chester)
A! The Black Pig ’3 Dyke, 01d
Athenaeum. Tue 3—Sar 7 May.
narra- Dressed to kill
How can a person scratching behind their ear be called dance? Ouite easily, when it’s done in perfect, rhythmic unison by lea Anderson’s seven-strong, all-female dance group, The Cholmondeleys.
iiow ten years old, The Cholmondeleys are worthy veterans of the British ‘new dance’ scene. At this year’s Mayfest, Scotland gets another chance to witness the slick, tongue- in-cheek dance style that has become their time honoured trademark. If you did catch them last time round (Precious, Tramway, 1993), note they’re minus brother company, Tire Featherstonehaughs, and plus three new members, who were handpicked, for their essential Choimondeleyness.
Sounding more like a delicious new chocolate bar than a dance piece, Anderson’s latest work Metalcholica presents The Cholmondeleys as you’ve never seen them before. Company members were recently spotted on ‘Good Morning With Anne and iilck’, engaged in some rather fiesty lumps, lifts and turns. Does this indicate a departure from the usual earthbound school of gestures? According to lan James, company administrator, Metalcholica is ‘fast and furious’, a step forward even from the pacier moves that we saw in Precious.
And theme of the day - ‘seven wild women throw off their shackles and hit the road at speed - tempting danger — avoiding collisions and riding high . . . ’ Sounds like a touch of the Thelma and louises? Well it is. ‘lea is
@6396? 99 B 9696?? 0990
a movie freak,’ says James, ‘and road movies are a genre close to her heart. But they mostly feature men, and boyish desires. Metalcholica is her own road movie, with a female cast.’
Bikes and leathers are in evidence, but oil and grease, iieli’s Angels-ster is not. ‘lt’s really very glamorous. Lea is inspired by big, glossy fashion spreads.’ if this sounds like supermodel talk, never fear. Sabine Durant (fashion editor, The Independent) writes, ‘these are seven differently shaped dancers dressed as real women on a fantasy night out.’
Durant is not the only one to focus on the costumes. Sandy Powell’s designs have been something of a media magnet for Metalchoilca and the company are not denying they’ve made a virtue of it. Her work for Derek Jannan, Sally Potter’s Orlando, Tom Cruise and a recent Oscar nomination caused quite a stir, but seven years on, she stays loyal to Anderson because, she says, however small the budget, she can really flex the imagination. (Ellie Carr) Metalcholica, RSAMD, Glasgow, Fri 29 and Sat 30 April.
mum:— lvory powers
Kl-Yi hi'Rock: ‘Onlike anything you’ll ever see’ When it comes to total theatre you don’t come much more total than the ivory Coast’s iii-Vi M’Dock, whose 70 or so members live in their own West African village. The community, which Includes sculptors and other artists, is grouped around a stage (which features a tree growing out of its centre) and it was here one midnight that Mayfest Festival Director Robert Robson saw the group perform, and immediately decided to sign them up for the Glasgow culture-frenzy on the not unreasonable grounds that ‘they’re unlike anything you’ll ever see’.
Originally Robson intended to bring
'over the group’s entire repertoire of
smaller shows, but even the smallest show involved seventeen people,
which can start getting expensive. As it is, the smallest show is the one we’ll see, though it’s also the one which combines many of the styles - puppetry, singing, darce, percussion — which form the basis of the other shows.
Robson has tried to re-create the context of the community in which he first saw the show by bringing the group’s cook to Glasgow, and by running percussion and dance workshops with the company. But doesn’t this smack of the cultural mis- appropriation which has stained other intemationai festivals, whereby esoteric groups are imported for the sake of their novelty and ‘new discovery’ factor rather than the intrinsic quality of their work? iiot so, says Robson, who points out that the French speaking Ki-Yi M’Rock draw on both their own roots - they have a policy statement about creating a united free Africa - and are Influenced by more intemationai theatrical trends as well.
indeed, their inclusion is part of Robson’s reaction to the sort of multi- national blandness which can creep into shows designed specifically for the international festival circuit. Their anti-naturailsrn celebrates an emotional rather than a sophisticated intellech response to produce something which is, well, unlike anything you’ve ever seen (or felt) before. (Stephen Chester) iieros D’Eau, The Beck's Tent, Fri 29 Apr—Mon 2 May.
Mark my Word
Comics on the box. We've all seen them. Using a medium which doesn't require a slog around the country to popularise your name. Mark Lamarr. We've all seen him. His route has been different. He was The Word‘s conscience, its better judgement. the sole oasis of scmples and righteous indignation in a desert of . amorality. established himselfas a 3 television youth icon in i the making. where was the pull to continue his 5 stand-up career?
‘You do it because you love doing it.‘ states
Lamarr simply. ‘lt's like
saying to someone “you
earn lots of money; why do you mow your lawn?“ 5 Y‘know — maybe theyjust ' like mowing their lawn!‘ Lamarr hasn’t furthered l his stand-up cause through his television appearances the way. say.
Sean Hughes upped his
pulling power. instead.
Lamarr has to cope with
the insidious way The I Word has cemented itself 1 in the national conscience.
‘With people's limited view of what they see on TV. they’re going to see
me as The Word and i want to shake that off. I = don’t want people to come along and think l'm going to be talking about people eating worms.’
What Lamarr does talk about on stage is any subject under the sun. except the three that every other comedian talks about. (This must mean sex. what‘s happening in the news and people eating worms.) Like Billy Connolly. he eschews the one-liner and goes in for unscripted serpentine diatribes on whatever subject he decides has comic mileage that particular night.
‘Since 1985 [when Lamarr started] there‘s i been a big boom in . comedy and l see lots of i‘comedians who are exactly the same and have been influenced by the comedy boom rather than influenced by their own lives. i try not to fall into that trap.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Mark Lamarr. The Ferry, Glasgow, 2—3 May.
The List 22 April—5 May 199419