mm- United states of dance
Over the years many a Scottish dancer has skipped across the border to London in search of training, work and an infinitely higher proportion of dance companies per square mile. This time though, it seems the mountain has come to Mohammed, as Dance Productions Ltd ships in three London based choreographers to work with Scottish-based dancers Aled Evans, Brigid McCarthy and Dena Thanopolous at Glasgow’s CCA.
The esteemed visitors: Mark Murphy - artistic director of the acclaimed V- Tol and Jamie Watton and Fiona Edwards - Britain’s newest funniest dance duo (seen at this year’s New Moves), have each contributed one half of a double bill that will tour Scotland in the coming months, and have had just three weeks to come up with the goods. Not much time for the muse to strike by anyone’s standards, but halfway through his three week rehearsal time and stuffed up with a good dose of the flu, Murphy is still smiling (albeit through gritted teeth) and seems to be using his circumstances as an opportunity to break with his stylistic mind-set.
Removed from his usual working pattern and his own company, Murphy is taking a slightly different direction and a few risks with his work. He has set himself some strict criteria. ‘I decided that the dancers would not go to the floor, and would not touch each other, which completely goes against everything I’ve ever done.’
He’s achieved this he says, to about 50 per cent, and for someone who features impassioned, wrestling couples in nearly all his work, that’s pretty remarkable. The result is a ‘silkier, more reserved way of moving’ and what Murphy describes as a duet for three people, that looks at how the way we relate to a new lover is affected by the ghost of lovers past. The whole theme of relationship hassles is of course no new subject for Murphy, but he makes no apology for it. ‘I have certain obsessions which I feel obliged to explore, and obsessions by their nature are always recurring.’(Ellie Copter)
Crossing Borders, CCA, Glasgow, 16—17 Sept and on tour.
V NEW PLAY
State of play
Fiona Shepherd takes a raincheck on the new
, Boilerhouse project
Before we start. it has to be intimated that this is not a finished article. merely
a work-in-progress to give some indication of how this preview piece for Boilerhouse‘s Hem/Mule project is
developing. So be aware of these
circumstances if yotr encounter stray quotes. doodles in the margin. or isolated descriptions hanging in space.
First off. there‘s a man making some kind of pagan altar out of lengths of straw. acorns and feathers. like the absurd toicms constructed by Frank in The Wasp Factory. of significance to no one bar himself. Meanwhile. another man straps on a snor'kel-cum—gas mask and proceeds to sculpt a potential bonfire from odds and ends of wooden furniture. ()blivious to all this. a woman wanders randomly round the room ill a blissful. catatonic state. playing with the lights and weaving in alld out of the mechanical debris being assembled by a fourth individual. Then they all lash themselves to a giant cartwheel and spin off into the stratosphere. Honestly. Well. metaphorically.
Ever get the feeling you‘ve stumbled into an initial learn-building improvisational session with Boilerhouse Theatre Company at the Paisley Arts Centre? No‘.’ Well. see
the-street‘s eye view. And see below for a professional assessment from one ofthe participants. Rachel (iartside. ‘ln a rehearsal process where. you‘ve got a script or very definite crystallised l idea when you start. you tend to go for I the jugular and forget the rest. This is ! about a total experience so you‘re not just rehearsing a bit of drama and then adding on music or whatever. I was a bit dubious about it at the start things felt a bit negatively vague at lirst. l . thought “We don't know what we‘re ‘ doing“. but actually it‘s really starting to polarise down to certain things which keep recurring.’ Right. next we‘ll go for some solid . perspective: Hem/slqu was lirst conceived tvvo years ago by author lrvine Welsh. orl his maiden excursion into theatre work. and by Boilerhouse Artistic Director ‘ l’aul l’inson as an ongoing dramatic process. starting with just the title arid the fuzzy notion that the company
above resume for a bemused-punter-on-
three actors. a dancer. a musician. a designer and a lighting designer -- would explore the present state of society based on the changes of the last fifteen years and fashion a piece of drama from that. The devising process lasts six weeks and rotates round the four venues where the piece will CVCI‘IWHI." Play from mid-()ctober' — Paisley Arts (‘entre. Aberdeen Lemon Tree. Theatre Workshop in Edinburgh and (ilasgow's 'I'ramway — and there are various open rehearsals for public perusal. Three days into their cathartic explorations and headstates are scrambled but loaded with potential. lrvine Welsh is the man to channel the
glut of ideas into a finished script. ‘If
you're writing a book you‘re totally alone.‘ he says. Nothing you have is
challenged at all because you‘ve got 3 total freedom and control. Working f with other people it‘s good to have
everything you do put up for examination. It‘s important that we keep challenging and kicking against
L‘LlL‘ll other. so it doesn‘t become loo
cosy. The nrore destructive you are the better it is. You can only get to the
heart of something if you‘re ruthless
and not prepared to see anything as a
The concluding paragraph of this preview is still being devised we'll keep you posted. ll'nrk I‘ll progress per/lint/unit's (l/ l/(’(l(/.\'I(llt' til/I [(IAI’ [l/(lt‘t' (ll Pills/("V
xlrls‘ (t'll/H’ (III l'ii 9 Styli; .'l/)(’l'(/(’(’Il /.(’IIIUII ‘ll'('(’ (w I'TI 3.? 5(7)]; ili/It’tl/I'l’
llin’ks/IUI’. It‘ll/lr/un'e/t m1 /”rr 7 (hr. and
I/l(’ 'I‘rtmlu‘ll‘v. (i/tlvcurr' (HI Sill /5 UN.
1 which is also (I prov/err /l('l_’/(ll‘llltlll('(’ (if I/lt'v/irll’s/lt'r/ piece. The production will
be performed IN ()(‘I // Nov.
um:- Return of the Jazz Queen
‘By rights I shouldn’t even be upright, but I feel great,’ says the woman whose performing career began at the age of five, singing a jazz version of Loch Lomond in a kilt in an “Our Gang’ film comedy. flow in her 608, Annie Ross, Queen of Jazz, is still going strong.
Riding high on the acclaim for her starring role as nightclub singer Tess Trainer in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, she’s currently appearing alongside soul singer Mica Paris in the musical Sweet Lorraine, Clarke Peters’ all- female follow-up to his hit West End show Five Guys flamed Moe.
Were Annie Ross’ own life story to be used as the basis of a musical it would probably be dismissed as too far- fetched. She was born in 1930 into a
family of Scottish vaudevillians
(comedian Jimmy Logan is her elder brother), went to the States at the age of four and swiftly won a radio show talent contest - the prize, a six-month contract with Metro-Coldwyn-Mayer. “Everyone in Scotland thought I was going to be the Scottish Shirley Temple. In America it was different.
They already had a Shirley Temple.’
Her parents soon returned home, but Annie stayed in America, living with her aunt, jazz singer Ella Logan. She grew up in Hollywood, went to school
.8; ‘ 1
wiih Elizabeth Tyler and, aged elm", :
. played Judy Garland’s kid sister in the ‘ film Presenting Lily Mars. “An unreal ; world,’ she says today. She returned to Britain in her late
5 teens. “I sang with a dance band in a a private club in London where it was so , snobbish that I wasn’t allowed to even ! sit in the room when I wasn’t working. 5 Then I went to Paris and sang with a I lot of hands all over France. It was
wonderful. I was seventeen and I was
In Paris, she rubbed shoulders with
r all the jazz giants - Charlie Parker, 5 Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins. . . ' i Back in America in the 50s, she I found jazz fame herself. She stood in i for Billie Holiday at the Apollo Theatre 3 in Harlem under bandleader Duke i Ellington and went on to become i Holiday’s friend. More plaudits I followed for “Twisted’, her virtuoso i vocalisation of a tenor sax solo by r Wardell Gray. She then formed the vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and E Ross, won five Grammys and the
nickname “Queen of Jazz’.
Sweet Lorraine returns Annie Ross to the music of her heyday. The show takes place on the eve of a wedding; Lorraine, played by Mica Paris, is getting cold feet about her impending marriage to Lomax (the hero of Five Guys Named Moe), but their friends rally round to offer comfort and advice. Their sage words take the form of a string of witty, boisterous, sardonic and romantic songs from the 305, 403 and 505: “Eight To The Bar’, “Heebie Jeebie Blues’, “Woman’s Prerogative’, “Black Coffee’, “Hussy For My Husband’, and so on. Annie Ross plays Lorraine’s chief confidante, a role that reflects her backstage relationship with Mica Paris.
“I’m like the older woman who went through what she’s going through,’ she says. “But in many ways she’s much wiser than I am and at times I become the younger one.’ (Jason Best)
Sweet Lorraine, King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 20—Sat 24 Sept.
48 The List 9—22 September 1994