DANCE Riv erdance
Edinburgh: Playhouse Theatre until Sat 17 May. * ir * it
You’ve seen the line of long legs in black tights whizzing past on the sides of biases. You've seen the posters; 'Dani'e doesn't often get this good'. Y0ti"/t? known it was coming, for monzl in. And now it's here, you’d better believe the hype
The step-dance-fest that shot from ObSCll rity (or seven-minute Eurovmon filler ‘>|Oi) to stardom is every bit as exhilarating as showbiz legend has it
Tak: rig their cue from the old- fashi: ned Fred 'n’ Ginger values of great song and dance that needs no introil iiction, the Riverdancers rattle through a fast-flowing catalogue of numbers. These range from the oh-so- familieii‘ chorus-line of step-dancers in the tit lie number to the sweet-voiced (how in ’The Heart’s Cry’ to more unexpected interludes from American tappers and flamenco.
This [3 ck 'n’ mix approach may come as a s errlSe to those who expected slipiigs from start to finish. But it's used to bril .'.-ant effect in sequences like flamenco dancer Yolanda Gonzalez Sobracio's ’Firedance’ and American street teappers’ 'Trading Taps’, in which the rhythms of Irish dance are played off ’touche’-style against those of the rest of tth world. It goes without saying that the proud liish come out on top and SlT‘ iling in the battle of the fancy footwor'lz. This went down well with us Jocks.
Leadii'ig the Irish contingent are floppy- haired Donegal charmer Breanc sin De Gallai and gorgeous
Riverdance: 'slick, sophisticated but
Joanne DOyle. Minutes into the show, we‘ve had a dazzling solo from each. De Gallai eats up the stage With
quickfire elastic leaps; while Doyle,
resplendent in purple velvet, slices the air and batters the floor With (possibly) the longest legs Ireland’s ever bred. Some reckon no one can fill the clogs of original Ri'verdance lead Michael Flately. But De Gallai has a far subtler charisma. And Judging by the screams from the audience, it’s Just as infectious.
The sets adorned With souped-up i Celtic heraldry are a touch tacky, and :
the voice-over speeding us through the show is a touch sentimental. But who cares? All the dodgy backdrops in the world can't change the fact that this slick, sophisticated but unpretentious celebration of the fierce Spirit of Irish song and dance is a top night out
DRAhAA Conversation With A Cupboard Man
Glasgow: Citizens' Stall Studio, until Sat 1 M er. **
Like mu ch of Ian McEwan’s early work, the short story 'Conversation With A Cupboard Man’ is a kind of Freudian satire, laced With a pungent strain of sick SGXlliilliy. In this case, the subject is those ulnerable men whose blousy mothets have discouraged their transition to adulthood. The central character, an extreme example, is literally spoon-fed into perpetual infancy by his widowed mother — until at severitieen he is rudely ousted from her emt re ice by a besuited swtor. Remediail art therapy starts to give the child-man a taste of freedom and
'Perpetu.ail infancy’: Brendan blooper as the Cupboard Man
identity, but it is not until he is ViCiOusly brutalised by his workmates that he regains a hint of the greater, womb-like comforts of enclosure and restraint.
All of this works remarkably well on the page, where McEwan’s seductive prose can draw a veil over the less convincing aspects of the narrative. Made flesh by actor Brendan Hooper, the same words (lifted verbatim) seem curiously flat. Hooper has prevrously shown himself to be a highly engaging performer, and tackles the solo role with energy and pasSion; but it may be that theatre demands a more sympathetic protagonist than fiction. The Cupboard Man is too truculent and charmless to inspire pathos.
Director/deSigner Jon Pope creates a Visually arresting production, as always. The stage area is mostly taken up with a shallow, oblong pool of water With floating candles. ASide from allowrng gorgeous lighting effects, this suggests the recluswe silence of a flotation chamber, while water itself is explored as an agent of both corruption and purification. Pope does not shy away, either, from McEwan’s disturbing sexual undercurrents — as Hooper gleefully spills milk over his crotch at the moment of climactic Violence or (more subtly) smothers his face in crimson modelling clay, there are links being made to something buried that would clearly excite Uncle Sigmund.
Finally, though, for all Pope’s bold symbolism and Hooper’s powerful delivery, it's. simply not dramatically compelling. (Andrew Burnet)
Hyndland Street Glasgow
The Good Times Will Come
Feb 25 - Mar 2
Dogsiar presents Political Black Comedy
Sun 2 Mar Music Makers
Flute trio/Guitar rccmil
5 - 8 Mar
Glasgow University French Dcpt. in La Cantatrice Chauve by Eugene loncsco
Sun 9 Mar
The M.U. Band \X’rirlcsbop/umccr! for aspiring musrcrans
Tickets now on sale
THERE ARE LOTS OF PLACES IN BRlTAlN WHERE RAClSM DOESN’T EXIST.
COMMISSION FOR RACIAl EQUALITY
21 Feb-6 Mar 1997 “Elm”