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Heartstrings: Viola and her When Damon .r\lharn penned the ( 'lah lit—30 anthem ‘( iirls and lioy s'. he unwittingly gaye us as succinct a plot synopsis ol' 'lirel/Ih Mfg/II as you c ~uld ever hope for ‘(iirls w ho are lroy s w ho like boys to he girls . . sutns up the cross-dressing shenanigans and star-crossed romance ol

.' just ahout


Don’t mess with my tutu

Scottish Ballet are all dressed up tor a night on the tiles. lillie (‘arr met the woman rcsponsihle.

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ayutage ludlct -.t“sltlllr.' designer.

llls;‘lt'.'tl ;tl lllc‘ .12'.‘ \crsace laslnon slit llancher

licrn m lit-liar. ( Ventral Scotland. and ol tfl'ccn l‘y a

. xcarold ' ill

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Shakespeare‘s most passionate comedy . {thcly llay lottl. ls'll.:t l )x’l‘k'i‘s. llelcn

Twelfth Night is the story ol Viola and her twin hrother Sehastian w ho are shipwrecked on the lllyrian shore. Believing her hrother drowned. Viola disguises herscll‘ as a man and hecozncs a page to Duke ( )rsino w ho is in lo‘.e with ()liyia. a rich countess. ()liyia. howeyer. who is also heing chased hy her pompous steward .\lal\olio. l’alls in love with \'iola in her hoy isli guise And this is w here the tronhle starts .

Making sense ol’ what appears to he a ludicrous plot are the ()sl‘ord Stage Company. w ho hring lire/ith .\',';v/1/ to Stirling's :‘ylacRohcrt :\l'l.s ('cntre this fortnight. Artistic director John Retallack is in no douht ahotit the enduring appeal ol' the play. "in. {Va-'- Night is ahout lose.‘ he says ‘Shakespcat‘c has way s ol showing us. through his outer plots. certain states ol being that we're all in Although 'Iit't'l/l/I Night is in many way s a fairytale. it‘s ahout growing hcyon-l the destructive passions ol loy‘e.‘

This is the ()sl'ord Stage (‘ompany ‘s ninth Shakespeare production and their work has gained a reputation lot herng' not only respecll'ul and traditional. hut also exciting and accessihle. lhen productions are characterised hy a strong physical and \lsllill charge. and tight ensemble playing. incorporating music and moyement perl‘ormed hy actors who haye no prohlcms handling the trickier aspects ol' Shakespearos language.

The company‘s pci‘loi'iiiarxces are supported by a wide range ol educational actiy ities. including school workshops. pre-show introductions and alter-show discussions which aim to introduce Shakespeare to a new. younger audience.

From his work in schools. Relallacl. knows the play can connect with yotttt.) people. ‘Shakcspcare has a way ol striking chords in e\ cryonch yearning.

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Frills and thrills: Jacqueline Hancher's sketches tor the corps rte ballet and a more typical

'l‘he collahoration hctwecn llancher and Baldwin was horn ol‘ a six—year- long li‘ietnlsliip in which. as artistically inclined mates do. they lantasis‘ed long and hard ahout the day they would hring their skills together. When Baldwin linally popped the question. llancher w as delighted. httt insistent on one thing: 'I said I could only do it in the l'ormat ol‘ my normal work. I couldn‘t start doing a sort ol‘ "classic"

; hallet hecause I just don‘t think l'd 7 hayc the correct artistic input.‘

i look set to kick up a \. istia! stozm on the:

well lllllsclc'tl l'ilyls‘»t Scottish ltallet .\s .‘l

'l the lanccrs at iot.'o~';a.plicr in residence. littldw in :s iniccling' a new iirodein serve min the company ‘s and this latest yenture-

trading the lulu tor yontlllnl

rcpert- in").

dancelloor ota‘ntatcd designs is

typical ol' his lorward thinking driye.

Baldwin agreed. Like all his work. .-le lawn! Kiss ta hi-centcnary trihttte to liurns) was to he a last-paced. \‘irtuosic numhcr with a contemporary push and shoye. It would he set to a score hy the Itlth century composer Strayins‘ky. would inyolye jazzy. lloor-stahhing. intricate pointe-work and would require the print heavy. clingy. cluhhy. skimpy

; design-sense ol~ llancher.

The process hegan with llancher suhmitting drawings. ‘\\'e discussed the idea that it was going to he really sort

ol’ glamorous and \ iyacious and there

would he a lot going on.‘ she explains. ‘So l decided that it would he good to have a lot going on with the lahrie

example ol her work

l'.\cr_\‘thin:.!‘s monoclntnne an.l we're like \Varhol style prints.’ the acid-crazed linished designs incltnle sweeping psychedelic swirls. \‘isiotrhendmg checks tllltl 'l.\’-sl'\ le little hlack dots. The hlack swirls are sewn on to organ/a tutus and each swirl is then httglc-headed.

.\'ow well past the drawing hoard

using lots ol oils and 7tls prints

stage. the designs are heing run up hy the costume department hack at Scottish llallct HQ in (ilasgow. As far as llancher‘s concerned. it's well ottt ol‘ her hands. Where‘s so tnany things ahout the making ol' the costumes 1 wastrt aware ol.‘ say s the first-time hallet designer. "l‘lie actual logistics of tnaking them is quite incredihle. You haye to llaye special corsets. and you haye to hayc inset knickers with extra elastic so when they hit their arms nothing llltt‘.L's. ll you're out dancing and wearing a short skirt and you lilt your arm. your skirt llloyes up hill it you're a hallet dancer that's not allowed to happen.‘

Scull/VII It’ll/h l I’H'y’r'n/ .»le l'ititr/ Kiss in r; (hit/Me /u.’.’ it ill; ll: .hih’V’hlt/t'. Theatre Royal. (i/rtygon. 'l'hnrx 3’ Sill If) .l/(tr


Jew sussed

it may seem an odd leap lrom the

austere Massachusetts of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to a 16th century Venetian society obsessed with

wealth, but as a forthcoming production at Glasgow’s Arches theatre shows, the Venetians were no less partial than the Founding Fathers to a witch hunt.

It was 1994’s production at The Crucible that encouraged the Arches’

j artistic director Andy Arnold to stage

The Merchant of Venice. The crypt- like interior ot the theatre added a

l macabre edge to that production. ‘The . Crucible was enhanced by the setting,

There‘s not a teenager ill the world who i

hasn‘t experienced the intense lccllng ol‘ love. Tire/tilt .Vtgh.’ is a play w till the potential to generate real heat.‘ (Cathryn ()‘Neilll

Twelfth Night. ()t‘forr/ .S'tttL’r' (Knit/truly MUt'RU/N’I'l xlrts (I'll/re. Stir/rite. Inc 27 Feb-.\'ttl 2 Mar:

by the theatre‘s stone arches themselves,’ says Arnold. ‘We wanted to do The Merchantand give it an even darker teeling.’

The subject at the witch hunt is one at Shakespeare’s most complex characters, the Jewish moneylender Shylock. John Gielgud who played the role in 1937 described him as a ‘squalid little guttersnipe’, while Arnold Wesker telt Shakespeare was battling with the anti-Semitism at his

: time to portray Shylock as

sympathetically as he could.

From Andy Arnold, Shylock commands a grudging respect. ‘Shylock is a nasty piece of work, but honest and principled in what he does,’ he says. ‘It Shakespeare was prejudiced he would have made him out to he a tool, but instead Shylock makes the sharpest speeches, he has all the shots. The opportunities are

there in the lines that he speaks to

present him as a sotter character.’ Certainly the other characters’

Blade scunner: Shylock reaches tor his pound of flesh

snubbing ot Shylock says more about their values than his. ‘When you look at the rest, well, Antonio has some integrity about him, but the others are hypocritical, obsessed with money,’ says Arnold. ‘The beauty of the piece is that the audience draws its own conclusion.’ (Catriona Smith)

The Merchant of Venice, Arches Theatre Company. Arches Theatre, Glasgow, various dates, Fri 23 February-Sat 9 March: see listings for details.

58 The List 23 Feb-7 Mar l‘)‘)()