CONTEMPORARY DRAMA Shopping 8: Fucking Glasgow: Citizens' Theatre, Wed 4—Sat 9 May.

A motto for millennial British culture might be this: ’If it shocks, it’ll sell.’ Mark Ravenhill’s now famous play about the lost soul of British youth features underage male prostitution, anilingus, Class A drug-dealing'and fatal sado-masochism, so the rumpus surrounding it should surprise no one. Education secretary David Blunkett rather missed the point, though, when he compared Ravenhill with Shakespeare, who, he raged, ’didn’t need to shock’. Presumably Blunkett regards murder, torture, cannibalism, witchcraft and sexual confusion as more suitable themes for drama.

Shopping 8 Fucking is not a bad play, but it’s nowhere near brilliant enough to merit its enormous success. Picked up by G & J Productions, which made a lot of money from the stage version of Trainspotting, it has been slickly and cynically marketed (that quote from The List is doctored, folks) it even has its own letterheading. Poor Blunkett must be appalled to learn how much mileage the publicists have made from his outrage. Ravenhill will be enjoying the irony, though: human endeavour as a commodity is one of his script’s central themes. (Andrew Burnet)

Selling and screwing: the slickly publicised Shopping & Fucking

DEVISED SHOW Hard Muscles, Glass Jaw & The 48hr Liquor


Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 9 May.

As titles go, this is one of the strangest. Yet Kaos Theatre’s new devised play has a strange range of influences to match the mad moniker.

’lt’s inspired by the writings of Raymond Chandler, and the films of John Woo and Quentin Tarantino,’ says director Xavier Leret. ’It’s also got a touch of sci-fi and Jackie Chan.’

Jake Swift, an honest private dick, who can hold a drink but can’t take a punch, is called in to crack a blackmail case. The premise is simple, but Kaos will put their own inventive, physical spin on proceedings.

’The Hard Muscles project fits into a long-term aim of exploring physical storytelling and how to get away from directly telling stories,’ says Leret ‘We’re looking at notions of the comedy of extreme violence.’

Kaos Theatre will also perform Conna/l Ye/lowc/aw, a children’s show based on Irish folk tales, on Thu 7 May. (Peter Ross)

Shadow play: Hard Muscles . . . etc

NEW PLAY t L"! ‘m‘w Camster Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Fri 8 8i Sat 9 May.

Thurso-based Grey Coast Theatre

Company’s new show is a sequence of ten short plays about love by Caithness writer George Gunn. These are woven together by lyric poems, which provide abstracted illustrations


Glasgow: Tron Theatre, Thu 7—Sat 16 May, then touring.

If you can imagine being the speccy fat kid at school for your entire life, you’ll have an idea of the battles Athol Fugard has behind him. White South Africa’s leading playwright, he emerged in the 1950s, and won few friends among the establishment for his liberal, anti-apartheid sentiments.

This 1996 piece has particular significance, though, even for Fugard Natalie Wilson, who is directing the play’s first Scottish production for 7:84 Theatre Company, explains: ’Fuqard regarded it as his most highly personal play, and he performed it himself at the premiere. He spoke of feeling very naked on stage, since it addresses his ambivalent position as a white liberal in the new South Africa that he struggled to bring about. It’s not exactly autobiographical, but it’s personal.’

The play tells the stOry of Abraam Van Vonkers, an elderly coloured (ie mixed- race) farmer, who is struggling to adjust to the changes in South Africa. He is threatened by the possibility that the land he works may be bought by a wealthy white man, played by the same actor (Thane Bettany). Meanwhile, his grand- daughter Veronica dreams of escape to the city, expressmg her desires in a series of songs.

Veronica’s unrealised desires and Abraam’s economic insecurity become

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“Hard Muscles, ‘_ ,. Glass law 8: The 48hr Liquor Cure”

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metaphors for the state of the country. ’The dreams haven't come true,’ Wilson explains 'Apartheitl isn’t about race anymore, It's about economics. The white man still has the choice to buy the land because he still has the economic status. Since the economic question hasn’t disappeared, there is still something to fight for, and the play is about this fight rather than the achievement of dreams '

Wilson compares the play to a parable in its non-naturalistic technique, which broadens out the iSSues to audiences beyond the play's location ‘The themes are universal, about fiohtinq tor dreams and freedom, and how Iiiolitenino the choices heroine when mu bring about change,’ she says (Steve Ciaineri 3 For tour dates, see page 60



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63 Trongate, Glasgow, G1

Thu 7 - Sat 16 May , (not Sunday/Monday) 8.00pm Tickets: £9.00 Concs: £4.00 Preview - 7 May - all tickets £4.00 Box Office: 0141 552 4267

or Ticketlink: 0141 287 5511

for the stories. From small and fragmented beginnings, Camster seeks to explore such timeless themes as the durability of standing stones and the psyche of the northern Scot.

Helen and Seoras played by Meg Fraser and director Matthew Zajac travel across time and place, as the show progresses from comedy to tragedy, from farce to Violence. Re-telling tales of the , North some true, some not Camster explores the nature of men and women " and how they are shaped by circumstance and physical environment. and, Q” tour 2

The show is presented in a consciously theatrical manner, drawrng from a rich , _ - . ‘lela"5,f'0m 01“ 334 6686 r oral tradition. Zajac sees Camster as part of ’a growing new theatre culture’ in " - "" V" mum. mama-n. ' the Highlands. ’As Scotland begins to recognise itself a bit more,’ he says, ’we can look at what it really is. There is something happening up here.’ .2

i2 by Athol Fugard

Love up north: Meg Fraser and Matthew Zajac in Camster


(Matthew Reason) 30 Apr—14 May i998 THE LIST 55