Rural Ian'um 'I'lu'uln'. lz'tliiilmiju/i. unli/ Sul 27 Jul):

Frotn thc alt dcco l‘oxglovcs on Russell Craig's backdrop to thc various dcx'iccs ctnploycd to crcatc ‘stmcrnatural' spccial cl‘l‘ccts. thcrc's an LilTlllClillll}’ about this production that its author would almost ccrtainl)‘ have cndorscd. Nocl (‘oward‘s scancc contcdy was written. prctnicrcd and latcr tiltncd during World War II: its chccrl’ul irrcvcrcncc and contrivcd clcgancc clcarly indicatc cscapist intcntions.

But likc Inost ol'Coward's work. Ill/Ilia Spirit docs not altogcthcr conccal thc pain that l‘ccds its scnsc ol' huinour. Bcrcavctncnt -- onc ol‘ thc play‘s ccntral thcnics is trcatcd lightly. hut suddcn dcath. the occult and twistcd marital rclationships arc all l‘crincnting beneath the sugar-crusted glazc ol' scintillating dialoguc.

Kcnny lrcland‘s production tor the L)’L‘Clllil is a hoistcrous al'l‘air. which occasionally sacriliccs pacc l'or nuancc ~ at lcast on a prcss night which shows sonic cvidcncc ol' undcr-rchcarsal. John Bctt plays the protagonist (‘harlcs Condotninc with thc right dcgrcc ol

urhanc hctnuscincnt. Julict (fad/ow


llead to head: Juliet Cadzow as Madame Arcati and Alice Bree as Edith in Blithe Spirit

brings a l‘rcshncss to thc stock ccccntric Madainc Arcati. and Briony McRohcns gi\'cs a winning pcrl‘orinancc as thc spcctral scs kittcn Elvira.

What is missing (though this ablc cast is likcly to acquirc it with sonic running -in) is thc dcl't lightncss of touch which allows thosc darkcr runthlcs to leak hch ccn pcrl'cctly dclivcrcd onc-lincrs ~ prcciscly thc quality which made the Lyccuin‘s Primiv Ian's last ycar so satisfying. (Andrcw Burncl)



Ruttling feathers: the Arches company on Cock-A-Doodle Dandy

Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Until Sun 21 July.

First rule of comedy (possibly): if all else fails, bring on the grown man in the chicken suit, requiring him to frolic around in ridiculous fashion. Or, in the case of this Arches/Tron co- production of Sean O’Casey’s late play, wait till things are going swimmingly well, then bring on the big clucking thing anyway for maximum slapstick laughs. Or is it just a sad proclivity of mine to be rendered helpless with laughter at the sight of anyone in an animal costume bearing a gonnless expression?

O’Oasey’s satirical, didactic comedy targets the misogyny oi Irish Catholic society, primarily personified by Father Bomineer, played by Grant Smeaton as venomously as though he was portraying lllce Guy Eddie from Reservoir Dogs, and to a lesser extent by the foolish figure of Michael Marthraun (Paul Biley) who’s too blinkered to know what an asset of a wile and daughter he has. While he’s busy decrying their every move as the action of the Whore of Babylon,

aforementioned cockerel is flapping freely through the town, becoming a scapegoat for local ills wherever it alights.

The success of this production is down to the mastertul way it manipulates the tone of the play. Until the final quarter, the cast are on major tarce alert. As Sailor Mahan, Callum Cuthbertson delivers his tongue- twisting lines with the speed of a racing commentator and displays a formidable catalogue of pained facial expressions. Director Andy Arnold turns in a bizarre cameo as local loon Shanaar, and the womenfolk (naturally) trounce them all for wit and insight.

But for the closing stages, the company make the credible switch to The Serious Message Bit, when Father llomineer’s tervour goes too far and two women are torced to flee the bigotry. At that point, it’s hard not to flinch at the sinister undertones which kept this play from public performance in Ireland until 1915. (Fiona Shepherd)

Arches Theatre Cmpany t The Tron

Cock—a— lloodle Dandy

by Sean O'Casey

Tue 25 June-Sun 21 July - 8pm 0 28/26 conc £4

(no Mon perfs 0 no concs. Fri/Sat)

Tron Box Office: 0141 552 4267 "splendidly entertaining and raucous! y runny"

"It's a boot" The Scotsman "funn y, haunting. ..astanishingly vivid" $08

1:84 Theatre companv a castlemilk People's Theatre present

Thur 25-Sat21llllll ' 1.30m ' 24/22

The Arches,30 Midland St 0 G1 4P8 0141 221 9736 The Ticket .Centre,___ca_ndleriggs 0141 22'l__551.1m_-__


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gig, $551».- ; - a ‘5".- .-.

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The List 12-25 Jul 1996 55