MUSIC LIVE REVIEWS
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Illce ’n’ Sleazy, Glasgow, 11 May. Two parts early Ilamones, one part early Damned blended together in a concrete mixer with one US flag and served up In trashy thrift-store clothing, a little burned and dirty at the seams, Pink Kross may have already issued their definitive statement in the form of their stinky- perfect ‘Punk Or Die’ EP. Without a variation in, or addition to, the formula however, there’s the real danger of ever-decreasing returns here. Like tonight, yeah, the set is fun and brash and, if there were a hundred or so more people here - and, indeed, a pit - they could coax less timid souls to get to slammin’ in it, but, when they stop playing after ten minutes or so, y’know, it’s enough. Maybe they were rushing off down the road to see Babes In Toyiand. lio, probably not. Although a thousand miles away trom Pink Kross stylistically, Telstar Ponies suffer a similar problem tonight, of
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being trapped in an exploration oi a single mood, always a dltticult one to pull oft. With iew exceptions, the songs build around the type of quietly brooding, extended passages that Sonic Youth can make sound as poignant as time passing in a deserted steel-mill (that is, very poignant) before flaring up or fizzling out in a whisper of vocals. In parts, it’s almost hypnotically fascinating, but elsewhere attentions begin to wander off In the direction of the bar or the watch. There can be no denying, though, that, all lost and lonely, ‘Maps And Starcharts’ is achineg exquisite, and one suspects that, in the context of an album, the Ponies’ obsessions could capture a listener completely. After the obligatory ‘why, thank you, you’re a beautiful audience’ gubbins that almost every Glasgow band seems to tlnd hilarious, they’re off. Either mediocrity or greatness awaits. (Damien love)
LIFE WITH All IDIOT
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 11 May.
In keeping with its allegorical significance, Scottish Dpera’s new co- production with English Ilational Opera of Schnittke’s ‘Life With An
Idiot’, works extremely well on several " .
levels. Constant forward movement, sophisticated stage gadgetry and design, sharp and balanced characterisation by the three main characters all make for a piece of theatre which is not only immensely rewarding, but a musical Iolt Into a world which is perhaps not so far removed from our own as we might like to think.
Set to Schnittke’s vivid score, ‘life With an ldiot’ is based on the short story of the same title by Victor Erofeyev and Is essentially about madness, whether the madness ot a private individual and its effect on those around or the madness of a more public reality which affects us all. Seen as an Interpretation of Soviet society under communism, it Is both tragic and grotesquely comic. The story is superficially a simple one: ‘I’ has been found guilty of an unspecified crime and the asylum inmate of his choice must come and live with him and his wife . . .
At first, that’s fine, but Vova, the madman, soon takes over. In brightly- checked suit, matching waistcoat and ring of red hair, Alasdair Elliot's Vova — who can only say ‘Ekh’ - embarks on
an orgy of destruction from throwing his own shit at the walls to having sex - he has a huge, inflatable pink penis - with the wife and ‘I’ in turn and, finally, murdering the nameless wife. As ‘I’, David Darrell very much holds the piece together in Act I, although hindered by a chorus who move and enjoy themselves splendidly but whose diction ls frustratineg - and uncharacteristally - fuzzy. In the fiendisth difficult soprano role, loulsa Kennedy-Richardson is wonderfully bizarre in cardigan and black sling-backs. Directed by Jonathan Moore and conducted by Richard Armstrong, whose orchestra seems to be on a permanent high, there’s nothing else quite like ‘Life With An ldlot’ - you’d almost be an Idiot to miss it. (Carol Main) ‘life With An ldlot’ continues at the Theatre iioyai, Glasgow on Thurs 25 and Edinburgh Festival Theatre on 8 June.
40 The List 19 May-l Jun 1995