COPPELIA/A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Coppe/i'u seen (I! l‘t’S/ll'tl/ 'I'lir'um’. Edinburgh. run wit/ed. A illi'rls‘unnnw' Night's Dream (til/ll Sat 7 Oct.
The last time Scottish Ballet stepped out on Scotland's biggest stages they were dressed head to foot in Jasper Conran. It's a hard act to follow, but
this latest major tour has thrown up two i pretty vibrant productions even without i
that wow-designer-threadsl touch. First off the mark was ('o/i/ie/iu. one of those sureﬁre classics with a fairy-tale story that everyone knows.
In case you (In)! 'I know. the star of‘ the show is Coppelia. a mechanical doll made by the wizcned hands of' village toyiiiaker. l)r Coppelius. Frantz arid Swanilda. the sliow's other stars. are sweethearts who romp happily round said village working up a sweat l‘or betrothal. until one day Frantz spies Coppelia in Dr (Toppelius‘s window and gets the hots for her without realising she's a doll. l‘IOIll then, all hell breaks loose as l’rantz attempts to
Scottish Ballet: tripping out in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
get close to ('oppelia. l)i' (‘oppelitts robs lii‘atill. ol‘ his spirit and tries using it to bring Coppclia to lite. and Swanilda saves the day by masquerading as (,‘oppelia and saving
5 Frantz — and her wedding plans » from i ,\,',,\./,,j,- /),‘m,,, me “e rm,“- m
The plot is pretty flimsy. basically an excuse for lots of rollicking. peasanty dance routines. fun and games with wind-up lo_\s in the toymaker's ‘lair". and lovestruck duets between Fixiiitz and Swanilda. With Sir Peter Wright's l‘)7‘) production of the ballet )oii gct bucket loads of all this. Scottish Ballet
have managed to flesh it out enough to
give what's essentially an old-lasliioned fairy-talc some substance in the iiiodei'n
The corps look stronger than they
have in ages. with some neatly-placed. l‘ast llecting l'ootwork given wings of
. speed here by Delibe‘s gorgeous score. But the real star or the show is the beautiful. long—liiiibcd (‘/ech-boi'n
dancer Daria Klimcntma (Swanildat. probany Scottish liallet’s biggest asset now. Vladislav Hubiiov had a lair crack at l’rantz. but with one too many on the wobble from. this wasn‘t his night Set and costuiiic-w ise. l’ctci‘ Snow ‘s designs were rich and lair} vtalc trad.
btit not cliiiit/y.
And now for something altogether dil'l‘erent. Bob ('ohan‘s xl .l/lt/.\’ll/IIIII(’I'
Shakespeare's time-honoured tale. but it's clearly a product of modern times.
.-\t least. l'aii'l) modern times. Lurid to
the point of p_v.schedelic. this I‘M}
production takes its cue from the 7(ls coIiIettipot‘at') dance scene that (’ohan scctlls ltil‘eVL‘l' lltileliletl It). Shakespeare's plot ol~ laii‘ics. mortals and pai'tncr-swappiiig in the woods is all there. but ('oliati's blend ol ballet. modern dance and luminous costumes spin ll into a whole new dimension. 'lillL‘ inhabitants ol the llai'd's magical kingdom arc clad in sw ii‘l_\'-pattcrned blue and red l_vci'a. and the wood w here all their capers take place is an c\ci‘cliaiiging landscape of shapes arid \ l\ltl colourwaslics. Special mention goes once again to Daria ls'liiiicntova tor a brilliantly lll\!} 'l'itaiiia and ('aiiipbell .\lackcn/ic tor a gorgeously impish l’uck. btit there are fun atid lrolics all round. with the cast relishing the chance to throw oll their tutus and get stuck into something with real p/a//. Scottish Ballet should do this kind of thing more ollett. tlillic ('art‘)
Loot: tragedy carried to extreme
loot, Rarnshorn Theatre, Glasgow until Sat 7 Oct. As Joe Orton himself might have
observed, comedy is often just tragedy .
carried to extremes. Loot, his irresistible farce on high moral themes, opens with the late Mrs Macleavy laid out in an open coffin in her WVS uniform while her son Hal’s stolen banknotes repose in a nearby cupboard
It’s only a matter of time before cash and cadaver exchange resting places and Orton’s wicked debunking of all things right and dutiful kicks into gear with the arrival of Inspector Truscott, a brutal sleuth who conducts his cases ‘under an assumed voice’ and claims to represent the Metropolitan Water Board.
lisa Irving gives a sterling performance as Fay, the seven-times- brlde-seven-times-widow who nursed Mrs Macleavy back from health, while Paul Rush’s Truscott is reminiscent of Leonard Rossiter in its portrayal of bureaucracy gone criminally insane. Each exchange is charged with the playwright’s astringent wit and occasionally — perhaps inevitably - lines are squandered through excess of effort. You don’t need to play it for laughs when you already have such coruscating dialogue doing the work for you: ‘Every luxury was lavished on you - atheism, breast-feeding,
circumcision. I had to make my own way.’ But, like the ill-gotten lolly, the
a supply is plentiful, enough to satisfy the greediest audience. (David Harris)
: ONLY AN EXCUSE!
Seen at Cumbernauld Theatre. On tour.
It was a big night for the team that snaps at the heels of Scottish football’s reputation. Only An Excuse! was on the road again, taking the popular comedy sketch routine from the radio and small screen to the stage. But this time, it was without Tony Roper. Also known as Rab C.
i Hesbitt’s side-kick Jamesie, Raper has
been substituted with newcomers Greg Hemphill and Lewis MacLeod, allowing him to play away with Scottish Television’s comedy sports quiz A Game Of Two Halves.
The pace was fast from the beginning as Scottish football got an affectionate kicking. The big names were there, from a reticent Kenny Oalglish to a cocky, smooth-talking Oennis Law - both played by Only An Excuse! old boy Jonathan Watson. He repeatedly hit the target with impersonations of the beautiful game’s most loved and hated figures.
His portrayals of sports commentator Chick Young and ex-Celtic star and full-time lad Frank MacAvennie were brilliant.
MacLeod and Hemphill gave convincing performances as the Scottish football world was plundered, from Rangers board member Oonald Finlay OC to the team’s great Dane,
. star player Brian Laudrup.
There were plenty of gems, but an A
j to Z of Scottish football helped. In the attempt to cover more than the
obvious sectarian divisions —
: everybody understands those ones — the jokes could get a bit obscure for
anyone not a devoted viewer of
Sportscene. Like most football matches, there were hits and misses. Footie fans will lap it all up anyway.
[HEI— AN INSPECTOR CALLS
The cobbled street glistens under torrential rain. Clearing mist reveals children exploring the aftermath of an
air raid. This is the setting for An
Inspector Calls— a seamless piece of
theatre combining the talents of designer Ian MacHeil and director
The Only An Excuse! team humours sports commentator Chick Young (right)
An Inspector Calls: Nicholas Woodeson as the mysterious Inspector Boole
Stephen Oaldry in a painstakingly and lovingly restored version of J. B. Priestley’s classic wartime thriller.
The fairytale, almost doll’s house- style staging belies the thriller in this piece, mixing mystery and, at times, humour in an evening’s explosive entertainment. Remaining true at all times to the writer’s social conscience, the play’s message is uncovered as steadily as the characters’ lives are intertwined.
Mysterious Inspector Ooole sets about his work prising dark secrets from the lives of the middle class Oirling family. As the web is woven, the happy family gathering is rocked
to the core, leaving lives — and loves -
as broken as the set that finally lies in pieces around them.
Nicholas Woodeson as Goole skilfully strips the blinkers from Edward Peel’s commanding and bigoted father and
Susan Engel’s controlling mother,
while the youngsters — played by Helen Shiesinger, Crispin Redman and Tom Goodman-Hill - suffer more, lives changed forever by the strange visit. As each character is drawn into the life of the suicide case being investigated, so the audience is drawn into the intrigue of this evergreen tale. Truly a first-rate production — in
i Oaldry’s words, ‘a jolly good thriller’.
55 The List 6-l9 Oct I995