MABABOU STORK NIGHTMAHES
Seen (it Adam Smith 'I'ltr'ulre. K irltcttlt/y. AI Edinburgh Festival Theatre tutti] Sat 2 Nm‘. The main problem with lrvine Welsh‘s ambitious second novel is its not- always-successful attempt to present several different levels of memory. fantasy and symbolism as a disjointed but unified whole. The story is set inside the comatose mind of Roy Strang. a lad raised in Muirhouse whose ‘genetic disaster' of a family emigrates to South Africa. a horribly poisoned idyll. which ends when Roy's radge father gets them deported. Back in Edinburgh schcmieland. corrupted by harsh surroundings and traumatic experiences. Roy becomes a vicious football casual. This leads — via an incident of horrific sexual violence — to a chemical voyage of self-discovery that forces Roy to confront his demons. ln tackling this complex material. adapter/director Harry Gibson wisely focuses on Welsh‘s central point — that the abusech‘nd to pass on abuse — which he poignantly underlines with a quotation from Philip Larkin's famous poem ‘This Be The Verse‘.
This nitty-gritty is well handled and thoroughly harrowing. but before we get there. the more surreal elements of the novel are presented in a manner described by Gibson as ‘panto from hell’. It‘s a bold. colourful experiment. ﬁlled with flamboyant staging and deliberately crude caicatures. but — like the source material — it doesn‘t
‘Thoroughly harrowing’: John Kazek and James Cunningham in Marabou Stork Nightmares
always hang together.
That said. the strong of constitution should stick around for the powerful. narrative-crainined second half. in which James Cunningham's Roy gains conviction as the play progresses. much aided by a rock-solid supporting ensemble. John Kazck provides a stunning array of quick-change crazies. while Gavin Marshall switches with great aplomb between the dapper. the sinister and the downright psychopathic.
Revised and radically redesigned since its first outing at the Citizens‘ Theatre. this touring production intelligently and faithfully translates Welsh's dissection of sexual abuse and the Scottish underclass into a theatrical language. leaving its lurid humour and shock value undiminished. (Andrew Burnet)
SCOTTISH DANCE THEATRE
Seen at Cottier Theatre, Glasgow. On tour.
This programme of four short pieces marks the first anniversary of Scottish Dance Theatre’s launch under the artistic direction of Neville Campbell. Formed from the ashes of the Dundee Rep Dance Company, the group is still the-only full-time contemporary dance company in Scotland. The new repertoire, which includes three premieres (from Andy Howitt, Cary lambert and Sowetan-born Doyzie Cekwana) may lack a contribution from the artistic director, but is nonetheless a diverse and tightly-
worked representation of SDT’s capabilities.
Howitt’s piece, The Storm Watchers, has a strong narrative drive inspired by George Mackay Brown’s reworking of an Drcadian legend. The tension between sea and land, the fishermen who drown and the wives who wait, is evoked in Howitt’s familiar dance vocabulary, Eloise Robertson’s simple setting and earthy yet sexy costumes. Well trodden territory, perhaps, but cleanly and stylishly done.
There’s a striking change of pace and direction with Stephen Prickett’s Gravacuitism, an exploration of ‘concepts of gravity and vacuity’ (Gravacuitism - geddit?). Backed by Protean’s pulsing soundtrack, taut bodies clad in tight white shorts and singlets slice through space, leaving almost tangible imprints of the vacuum their limbs create, or balance, with controlled precariousness, in unlikely human pyramids. It’s dance which aspires to pure form, but alludes to the classical athleticism of the sports field.
On A Sunday Morning finds the company firmly back in the realm of dance theatre, with Cekwana’s precise, sensual drama of sexual intrigue and encounters. Six sharply- drawn characters go through a sequence of movements that finely capture the tensions, passion and snatched moments of human affairs.
Gary Lambert’s dark Virtuality completes a bill that doesn’t push any boundaries, but shows that SDT can hold their own in the contemporary dance world. (Minty Donald)
‘Sexual intrigue’: Scottish Dance Theatre's On A Sunday Morning
King's Hit titre. lft/iu/uug/t. until Sui 3 \tIt‘.
't'ou bought the leg-warmers and dreamt of going to stage school. .\'ow
it's time to see the stage version of the :s'tls cult film and 'l‘\’ show. which
' bounces into town this fortnight.
liycryone w ho can sing along to the theme tune knows the story. such as it is. A possc‘ of young hopefuls strut their stuff through New York‘s School For lllc‘ l’erloiming .-\rts. with a hearty dose of teenage angst to accompany the high—kicks.
I’d/tie purists may be a lad upset by minor changes and the absence of the original soundtrack. but the characters and basic set-up stay pretty tnuch the same. file kids form bands. try to find themscbcs' and fall in and out of love in the lightest possible fashion. Lyrics penned. surprisingly enough. by former ll} lan collaborater .lacques l.e\ y complement the met‘dosc on hormones". the heartaches and the dancing on taxis. w hilc wonderfully awful .\'()s gear evokes the fashion—void era perfectly.
l-‘amc costs. but for Jai Ramagc‘s’ sultry (’armen -~ who judging by her accent hails from the lissex district of the Bronx ~- the bright lights dim abruptly early. while Kimberly Partridge turns in a winning performance as love-struck Serena. It's not without its weak points but the pace and sheer energy carries it along. There are a few smarty references to the original. but it‘s slicer nostalgia from beginning to end. with a belting rendition of the title track which makes you feel ten again. (Claire l’rcntice)
French Film Festival 1996
Le Roue '
A gala screening of Oesar winning Abel Gance’s La Roue to herald the start of the French Film Festival in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Live music perfomed by Adrian Johnston.
“There is cinema before and after La Rona, as there is painting before and after Picasso”
Sunday 17 November 5pm Tickets from £5.00 (concessions);Spit-#3:; ~71
The monumental classic of silent ﬁlm
64The List l-I4 Nov I996