V NEW PLAY
With a cast comprising one Scottish. one English. one lrish and three French actors. Theatre Cryptic's premiere adaptation of a Francoise Sagan novel has more than just a Gallic ﬂavour. ‘l‘ve always been attracted to the fertile sensuality of French culture.‘ says director Cathie Boyd. whose French connections stretch well beyond an artistic method.
Theatre Cryptic exemplifies truly impressive survival instincts by a hard-nosed sponsorship campaign. With some help from the Scottish Arts Council. it has trawled in money from numerous sources. including. appropriately enough. ‘French Connection‘. in whose shop window the female actors will be posing as mannequins in return.
Set in the south of France. Bonjour Tristesse explores a daughter's jealousy and bitterness towards her father planning to re-marry. and the consequential disasters of her actions. Cathie Boyd interchanges French and English both in improvised rehearsal and final performance. aiming to show that ‘the musicality of words‘ in a foreign language can speak in more sensuous ways than bland conventional meaning. Against those who may accuse this kind of theatre as socially irrelevant. she describes the play as being about ‘the human difﬁculty to communicate. and always to want what we don‘t have.‘
Particularly influenced by Beckett and Brook. Theatre Cryptic has always sought to fuse music. movement and voice. right from its inception in 1991 when Boyd. then still a student. decided this was the only way to bring together compartmentalised talent from the RSAMD. Following the success of ‘Lovers‘ at the Edinburgh Fringe 1992. her predominantly female company uses a live cello (‘the sexiest instrument’). original music by composer Jane Gardner. sculptor Alex Rigg. and voice coach Nadine George. whose advice of actors is to ‘embody it more. straight from the loins'. which indeed promises a production of some sensuousness. (Peter Kimpton)
Bonjour Tristesse, Paisley Arts C entre. 13 May; Tramway, Glasgow [6—18 May; Netherbow Arts Centre, Edinburgh 20—21 May.
‘You’re crap. McGoldrick!’
Hick Hornby is beginning to run out of expressions of astonishment at the all-conquering success of Fever Pitch. His finely-honed confessional of a life (misjspent supporting Arsenal, has sold in numbers unprecended for a sports book, spawned a plethora of imitative laddish writings, and even a feature film project. ‘I thought, what next?’ says Hornby, “the Fever Pitch T-
shirt? Then the publishers showed me the T-shirt design . . .’
The latest project to stretch the writer’s credulity ls Fever Pitch, the stage show, devised by Brighton Theatre Events, and featuring Stephen Horth as the fixated Hornby, living his life vicariously by way of various Gttnners’ triumphs and disasters.
‘I thought they were mad at first, but they sent me the script and it’s very cleverly done,’ says Hornby, who is still trying to summon up the courage to see his life portrayed on stage. ‘lt’s not just someone standing on stage spouting passages from the book, there’s a lot more to it than that.’
The appeal of the book was that it was about much more than football, touching on the nature of obsession, masculinity and the 4-4-2 formation in its red-tinged pages. ‘The big thing at first was appealing to other football fans, but I was very pleased when it went beyond that. Football fans started telling their friends and family who weren’t into football to read it and it spiralled from there.’
A previous Fringe theatre production flirting with football, Arthur Smith’s An Evening With Gary Lineker, ended up as a West End sellout. Fever Pitch opened with a quiet run in Crawley, where audience members were turning up in Arsenal shirts. For five nights in Glasgow, as George Graham might put it, the boys will be looking for a result. (Charlie George)
Fever Pitch is at the Arches from Tue 17-Sat 21 May at 7pm.
You don’t shoot the messenger just because the news is bad. The mere fact that it’s being read by Viv lumsden and all her chums at Scotland Today might be all the reason you need to pull the trigger.
This, in so many words, is the general sentiment behind the Virtual Reality comedy revue, as its ringleader Andy Gray explains: ‘The show takes a barbed look at the UK media in general and at the Scottish media in particular. It’s going to be very funny and very cruel.’
In the firing line are a host of sacred and not-so-sacred cows ranging from Oor Wullie to Car George Galloway, and from Taggart to Take The High Road. As well as spoof news bulletins, there will be a dip into the richest source of comedy known to mankind, namely the Sunday Post readers’ letters page, and Daily Record hardliner Joan Burnie will be offering the following advice to any woman with an unsightly growth in her vagina: ‘Divorce him!’
Accompanying Andy on this journey beyond the headlines are Barbara Raffferty, Blll McElhaney and Jimmy Chisholm, while the odd spot of musical relief will be provided by Glasgow blues singer D. B. McGlynn.
‘We want to send up the awful insular nature of the Scottish media scene,’ says Rikki Brown, who co- wrote the show with Iain Campbell. ‘They’re all such good pals. They sit about telling each other how nice
Andy Gray their new hairdos look.’
Rikki and lain, both of the BBC Comedy Unit, also scripted much of Wildcat’s recent hilarious Annus Horribilis. ‘Writing revues gives us an outlet for the kind of material the BBC couldn’t touch with a bargepole,’ says Rikki. ‘Wildcat toned down a lot of our stuff for Annus, but with Virtual Reality there’ll be no holding back.’ (Andrew Gilchrist)
Virtual Reality - Beyond The Headlines, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Fri 20-Sat 21 May.
Force of circumstance
Forced Entertainment ‘Expcrimental performance theatre‘ is a tricky term that can conjure up visions of artistes with brown paper bags over their heads shouting out something abstruse like ‘l atn an egg !‘. The theatrical co-operative Forced Entertainment pushes it even further by tagging the reductionist term ‘post— modernist' onto this baggage. Many would say that was just asking for prejudicial trouble.
But wait! in its ten-year existence. the Sheffield-based company has proved its experimental worth. gathering both critical and audience acclaim. even inviting comparisons with the revered Wooster Group.
The co-operative‘s latest venture. Club ()fNo Regrets is billed as ‘theatre as chaotic spectacle. a dark seance about politics. a raw comic thrash about pain and escape that owes much to schloch horror. slapstick and made-up urban voodoo’. Tim Etchells. the group's director and ‘ideas iiling-clerk‘ attempts to unravel this description by expanding on the company‘s unsignposted world ofexpcrimental theatre. ‘This show. like a lot of our work. is about identity — about a group of people struggling towards self- understanding. self-definition. trying to attain some kind of resolution which is why the piece is called (Tlub ()fNo Regrets — it‘s an aspiration to belong to this ideal state or club.‘
Before the actors anti audience can reach this nirvana. there are a number of troubling emotional. physical and comic barriers to overcome. The opening scene. says Etchells. features. ‘two bound and gagged characters. held at gun-point in a tiny rootn who have to re-enact the same five or six scenes over and over‘. In the meantime they have to contend with the slapstick/ threatening stage-hands who throw water (rain) and talcum powder (dust) over them. From these crude and uncompromising beginnings evolves a performance that was hailed by one critic as ‘sinister. romantic. knock- about and poignant'.
Whatever you do. don‘t shout out ‘I am an egg!’. (Ann Donald).
Club Of No Regrets. Forced Entertainment. CCA. Glasgow. Mon 16—Wecl 18 May.
12 The List 6—19 May 1994