NEW PLAY Lazybed
Seen at the Lemon Tree Arts Centre, Aberdeen. Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Tue 4—Sun 16 Nov (not Mon) 1k ii it
Some days it just ain't worth getting out of bed. For Murdo, a Highland dreamer and over-age mummy's boy with delusions of grandeur, the constructs of work, rest and play are such a waste of time he decides a life between the sheets is the only solution to an insurmountable problem.
The absurdity of existence sorted, Murdo holds court to a stream of visitors, each intent on getting him back on his feet. Even Death shows his face, and the pair become unlikely drinking buddies as they wrestle with the misery of real life.
Dependant on women to the last, Murdo sees a flicker of something appertaining to hope by way of Judith, a girl whose feet are as firmly on the ground as Murdo's head is in the clouds. And that’s what makes the world go round apparently.
lain Crichton Smith’s new play for the Traverse is ideal for its annual Highland Hydro-Electric tour and is as gentle and self-mocking about self-conscious pseuds as it is free of literary clutter. While occasional lines appear straight out of a volume of existential angst for beginners, and its attitude to women is a century out of date, the play’s humour and humanity lift it out of the library and fuse it With a warmth and zest for life qwte at odds with the
Slacker happy: lain Macrae as Murdo in lain Crichton Smith's Lazybed
philosophical thrust of the piece.
Philip Howard's production is simply lovely, an understated delight garnished with Anna Mhoireach’s live folk score, and tailored with a series of fine, unflashy performances. Iain Macrae’s Murdo is a Wide-eyed seeker of truth who finds it where he least expects to; a terminal adolescent who finally finds everyday human interaction more appealing than the pages of a book.
Alexander West’s Death makes a fine drinking and sparring partner as, like Beckett’s Unnameab/e, Murdo decides to go on. Growmg up sure is hard to do. (Martyn Galvani)
DISABILITY RIGHTS DRAMA D.A.R.E
Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop, until Tue 21 Oct (not Sun); Glasgow: Tramway, Thu 23—Sat 25 Oct; then touring * *
Imagine a world full of blonde, blue- eyed babes. Boring, huh? But With the very real debate raging over genetic engineering, the concept of a super- race may no longer be one for the history books. Presenting four men’s Views on eugenics, D.A.R.E. (Disabled Anarchists’ Revolutionary Enclave) — a deVised piece from the Theatre Workshop company — places current genetic hot potatoes in a mythical framework.
Tired of tokenism from a pitying, patronising and unheeding establishment, the disparate bunch trade pussy-footing for terrorism, taking on an able-bodied elite who steam-roller the rights of those they deem as haVing 'a life not worthy’ and frightening forays in genetic cleansing With enforced sterilisation and DNA- testing
But as the struggle for a VOice takes them into a head-on collision With personal hang-ups and the DTC‘JUGICGS Of the outside world, infighting breaks Out, threatening the group’s united front
A backdrop of Internet-inspired Video proiections conveys the alienation of our rapidly advancing high-tech age, but Willi minimal character interaction this ultimater creates a stiited, disiomted feel.
Not one for the worthy-but-dull tag,
D.A.R.E: disabled theatre puts up a fight
however, 0 A R F bristles With exciting themes and ideas, but these fall short of developing into a substantial Whole Disability rights is an emotive subiect, but as a piece of theatre, the production is undermined by the absence of a strong narrative thrust to hold all the passion, anger and cc‘ir‘iViction together In attempting to be a voice for every hue cf the disabled movement the overall impact of the piece is diluted
Undeniany a valuable contribution to a debate that looks set to run and run, the level of pie-publicny for D A R E indicates the huge interest in and importance of Lhe issues the company is dealing With. But ultimately it fails to live up to its c0rnpelling hype. (Claire Prentice)
BLACK COMEDY l Licked A Slag's Deodorant
Glasgow: Arches Theatre, until Sat 18 Oct; then Wed 22—Sat 25 Oct ****
The title says it all — this is not feel- good, rosy-glow theatre. But Jim Cartwright’s / Licked a Slag’s Deodorant, a picture of the collision between two desperate lives, is not without humour. Cora Bisset avoids the sentimentality of the ‘tart with a heart’, and brings an unexpected humanity to this EZO-a—trick prostitute. Her lot is bleak She waits for ’rush hour’ business with tired resignation. She's seen too much to be repulsed any more, she craves crack and any kind of company. What she gets is Nik Wardzynski's vulnerable man. But he is not all babbling and dribbling — his lost existence is punctuated with lucid memories and flashes of pure glee. Life keeps going by them, but they stumble on moments of companionship and warmth. The script, full of vivid imagery and sharp monologue, is excellent. Set and setting -- including the rumbling trains above the Arches — fit perfectly. (Kate Smith)
Big licks: the Arches Theatre Company gets fresh with l Licked A Slag's Deodorant
EXTRAVAGANZA - Shehallion: A Scottish M“ . Gathering Glasgow: SECC, until Sun 26 Oct iii Shehallion may be the Scottish J - mountain of dreams, but this blatant attempt to create Riverdance with kilts is definitely a bit of a nightmare. The slim narrative concerns mythic Warrior Queen Sciatach’s Visions of the country’s history, but she's a strangely passive figure and the power of the original legends is wasted.
The show lacks focus and it's often unclear Just what's going on A ragbag of scenes are apparently re-enacted at random » a battle here, a Tam O'Shanter take-off there — and the choreography uneasily mixes standard ballet With sword dances and flirigs which bring back queasy memories of Thingamajig. The mUSIc is also uninspiring, relying heavily on pumped-up electronic folk-rock and too many undramatic Gaelic laments (though soIOist Mairi Mclnnes has a spine- tingling v0ice)
Shehallion is by turns confusing, dull and embarrassing If this is the best we can do, let's leave it to the Irish. (Andrea Mullaney)
Shehallion: nightmare vision of Scotland's history
' to skeletons in the closet
COMEDY-DRAMA When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream And Shout
Edinburgh: Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, until Sat 25 Oct * i ii ir
Sharman MacDonald's tale of groWing up flits Wittin from sexual repression all Within the confines of an East Lothian beach. Coming out of the Brunton Theatre after seeing this very funny play, you feel like you know F.ona (daughter), Morag (mother), Vari (friend) and Ewen (bOylriend) Their dramatic yet banal lives are the kind of thing your auntie gos3ips about.
The acting really shines out of this production Ann-Louise Ross (last seen Wielding a dildo in erine Welsh's GranIOii Star Cause) is simply an extremely good ac tress, and a frighteningly realistic Morag. Every mannerism says something and her delivery is immaCUlate. The rest of the cast give rock solid performances
This show Will make you laugh and think Director DaVid Mark Thomson couples a talented team With a bloody good script, so it’s hard to see how the man could go wrong. (Stephanie Noblett)
Talking loud: Brunton Theatre Company
23 Oct~6 Nov 1997 THE "ST 61