THEATRE new shows

:T. HE A Tan-e c o M P'Ar-Nn



' _‘Box OFFICE 0131 665 2240




21 MARCH 1998



34 THE “ST 6-3.9 Mar T998

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COMEDY American Bagpipes

Edinburgh: Brunton Theatre, Thu 6—Fri 21 Mar.

You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. And don’t we all know it. Dusting down the family album, lain Heggie presents a new version of his jaundiced family comedy, featuring a couple of sprogs who could give Bart and Lisa Simpson a run for their money.

Estranged for the ten years after rebellious son Patrick went AWOL, the Nauldies find themselves preparing for a family reunion. But when their offspring returns, he has some surprise news -— and it's not wedding hells or babies. Rather, the black sheep has written a book which presents his old dears in a less-than‘flattering light

To upset proceedings further, daughter Sandra pays a flying visit from the States. And while we all love a good barney With our parents, Sandra wants to keep her hand in by taking her ma back to America where

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Peter Grimes, John Yule, Jo Cameron Brown and Julie Duncanson in American Bagpipes

she thinks Rena will be a source of amusement. 'lt touches on the American obsession with doing everything bigger and better than anyone else,’ explains Heggie, whose latest play Don Juan embarks on a tour with Glasgow's Theatre Babel next month.

The brats unleash an uncomfortable battle of home truths in the Nauldie nest, putting their parents’ marriage to the ultimate test. ‘It is autobiographical in a sense,’ concedes Heggie. 'My sisrer does live in America and my parents had quite a stormy relationship, although the characters are a bit more extreme, thankfully. They want and do things a bit differently from my family.’

As the success of countless soaps proves, our thirst for nosing into other families’ dirty laundry is unsatiable. ’8asically I’m looking at the value of the nuclear family today and asking if it’s a natural entity which has got a future, or whether lS it JUSI a rather ugly and unfortunate social structure that has had its day.’ (Claire Prentice)

NEW PLAYS Scottish/German Play- Ground

Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Sat 14, Sun 15, Sat 21, Sun 22, Sat 28 & Sun 29 Mar.

A new experiment in cultural cross- currents has been set in motion by lrina Brown of the Tron and Hugh Hodgart of RSAMD Over three successive weekends, six new plays -v three German, three Scottish -- Will be performed as semi-staged readings by final-year students from RSAMD. Leading Scots playwrights lain Heggie, Peter Arnott and DaVid Greig can be compared and contrasted with German counterparts Einar Schleef, Werner Schwah and Oliver Bukowske_ in a programme of genurne variety. There isn't a thematic link between the plays, and that's deliberate,’ says Brown, the Tron's artistic director, whose production of Mate In Three can currently be seen at the theatre. ’The whole thing is about diversities of interest, new writing and new theatre in these two countries. But there is a link between Scotland and Germany over the past five years. They've had to

ask some similar questions about identrty.‘

Brown and Hodgart are pleased to welcome another guest, Thomas Ostermeier, one of Germany's more celebrated young directors. ’He's very much an up-and-coming light,’ says Brown. ’From just talking to him, I recognise a very penetrating and exciting theatrical mind. It will benefit the students to work with someone like Thomas on a complex piece, like Schleef’s play.’

The diversny of theatrical styles in the programme is indeed striking, as Hodgart stresses. ’The plays vary from lain Heggie’s quite realistic and very funny work, to the piece by Schwab, which is not at all televisual in its nature,‘ he says. He is delighted to see his students working in the professional theatre so early in their careers. Using students also enables the piays to be performed with larger casts, a factor Brown clearly appreoa‘tes

Given the benefits f0r writers, trainee actors and of course audiences, let's hope the experiment can be repeated. tSteve Cramer)