N0 EXPENSE SPARED
Si’t’ll (ll ill/age T/N’tlln’. lids! Killn'iilt'. On tour.
Another show front the increasingly proliﬁc Wildcat Stage Productions. No Expense Spam! is a superb blacls comedy from the pert of .‘ylorag Fullaiton. whose television writing credits include The lit/es 0/ Print Hum/y and (Yin/rui- .-l t‘t‘t'xl.
The story centres around a lucrative contract for the fictitious Kittkcilh local council's Christmas panto. After some bribery and double-dealing front conniving councillor l.ex .‘ychill. the contract is awarded to a chaotic version of Aladdin. featuring a boo/y writer/star and rebellions cast. Following a case of riiistaken identity. a leading lady is hired who can't act to save herself. Add iii the fact that the sleazy director has had an affair with McGill's daughter. and we have tlte ingredients for a bawdy farce
The second half concentrates on the disastrous :l/(ulrlni production. with the audience draw-n unwittingly into ‘Hello. boys and girlsl' absurdity of pantomime itself. The often-used device of a show -w ithiti-a-show is exploited to great effect. with hilarious results. The accomplished cast are all excellent. although l’eter Kelly 's wonderfully slimy .\lc(iiil and relative newcomer Anita \'ettesse‘s Leanne are worthy of special praise.
Fullarton's topical script is brimming with great one—liners. and touches on everything from the recent ‘Monklandsgate‘ affair to sexual discrimination. political correctness and sectarianism.
David MacLennan directs with some
No Expense Spared: ‘superb black comedy‘
‘Ethereal but feisty’: Siobhan Redmond in The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
Hair and the musical interludes — o\ci'seen by Wildcat stalwart Dave .-\ndcrson are frequent without being oy cr~intrusive. Designer Suzanne l-‘ield‘s sets are sparsely effective. culminating in art enjoyable and very accessible piece of theatre.
lf audience reaction on ll May is anything to go on. then Wildcat have a big hit oti their hands. And deservedly so. tScott Montgomery l
THE TRICKJS TO KEEP BREATHING
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sun 26 May.
When this adaptation of Janice Galloway’s novel received its first full production last September, its most striking aspect was the explosion of a deeply introspective narrative into an expansive theatrical treat. Few changes are apparent in this revival, but if anything that sense of magnification has grown.
In the programme, adaptor/director Michael Boyd writes about his ambition of ‘capturing the immediacy and complexity of true experience’. The story of Joy, a traumatised young woman ﬂoundering in a quagmire of mental instability — and mental institutions - is told by Galloway with an agonising sense of enclosure. Boyd’s strategy is to open the character out, dividing her into three, allowing multiple interplay: between fatigued, corporeal Joy, her ethereal but feisty will, and her wounded subconscious; with an outside world apparently unified in its efforts to vex her, and with the written word - a source of unreliable commentary which appears on slide projections.
This is no high-tech production, but it makes brilliant use of theatre’s technical resources - lighting, sound effects and above all human voices, bodies and musical skills. Even its most showy device - a huge canvas screen which flies in and out — is subverted in a superbly ghoulish coup de theatre. The cast — magnificently led by Jennifer Black and Siobhan Redmond — is strong (though Peter Mullan’s absence leaves a noticeable gap) and supremely well drilled, allowing Boyd to perfect a potent brew which matches the novel’s exploration of the minutiae of experience, but remains thoroughly theatrical.
The RSC — where Boyd is shortly bound - is in luck; for the Tron there can be no doubt he’ll be a hard act to follow. (Andrew Burnet)
The venue for this show was incorrectly given as Tramway in our Mayfest listings last issue. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
MAYFEST REVIEW BLOOD AND WATER
:il't'llt'y 'l‘lieiilre. (i/usgow; until 35 .l/(lt.
‘I want to re-discover the secret of great speech . . .' hitting opening lines for a
production which contains a lot of great speech; unfortunately some degree of effort is required to unravel it. The piece is adapted frotti .llvsii'ijv-limit/e. an allegorical epic written iii l‘)|.\' by Russian poet and playwright Vladimir
Mayakoy slsy. arid originally performed by a oil-strong cast. Director .-\iidy .-\rnold has pared this number down to ten. arid the .-\t'ches company interpret the play 's theme towards an telusiyet promised lattd in a way which preserves the surreal. absui'dist style of the original. while drawing a few modern parallels.
.’\s art ensemble piece. this is
of workers stri\ ing
ititpt'essi\e. 'l‘he cast make a c’t‘ll‘. meing rabble of global refugees. lhat said. the opening scenes are confusing ()uly w hen the narrative progresses and a steady rhyming scheme is established tlti llilllgfs \t‘lllc titl\‘. ll
llll\ is minimalism i\‘.llll a small ‘m'i at its best, lit the scenario w hich t'il\tlr‘\. lllt‘ l‘.l\t'\l lit.tlc‘l'l.tl\ .ll‘t‘ transformed. l’lastie crates and woodeti blocks become a boat. w hich forms the backdrop for a series ol comic squabbles between tltc refugees. .'\ storm brew s. and the sur\ iyors are sent
literally to hell and back. Damnation is made convincing w itlt a piercing red spotlight and electric chainsaws; heayeii is strewn with snow ~w hitc books and garlands ol flowers. plus a hea\y dose ol easy listening music lhcrealter. the plot loses ground sortiewhat 'l'he end finds ottr \aliant sury l\ oi's atop a giant pedestal. bttt beyond this not itittelt is clear 'l‘he cast. ltoweycl‘. pttt heart attd soul iitto the piece. and with the help of sonic c\eellent li\e music. energy arid enthusiasm w in the day. tSiobhan l)onnelly i
Blood And Water: ‘imoressive ensemble piece’
A play about men
and their . funny Shaped balls.
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54 The List 17-30 May 10%