Love, Lies, Bleeding Glasgow: Citizens' Theatre, Wed lB—Sat 23 May. Edinburgh: Traverse Theatre, Thu 4—Sat 7 Jun at: “tr air

As nightmare cabaret acts go, pSychics Tony and Greta take some beating. By the time their show is over, no-one is untouched by the spiral Of revelations, lies and confesSions that their presence provokes.

Rarndog's new devrsed play hinges on the relationships of a handful of regulars in Vegas, a downmarket Glasgow bar

At first glance, the set looks like an Edward Hopper painting as the gaudy characters and bright lights radiate out from the bar Even the drinks are lurid.

Any idea of Americana rs banished, hots/ever, wrth the first lines of

dialogue, and a long stream of

' Glaswegian characters follow Jack

(Gary Lewis) and Sabrina (Joyce Falconer), the bar's tenants, onto the stage.

The dialogue was initially improvrsed and then knocked into shape as a script by Daniel Boyle, who also scripted Hamish Macbeth Billed as a ’comrc and poignant love story,’ it is a partial success

As a comedy rt has broad appeal The

atmosphere of Vegas, from opening

time A- when the regulars jar against

: each other with weary tedium - to the

j climactic. Saturday guest slot, is well

YOUNG PEOPLE'S SHOW Little Victories Touring e

Death’s never an easy subject to tackle,

and when there's a child involved the

w h 0 l e

issue takes on an added

complexity. TAG theatre company’s

latest production attempts to address the topic rn a fun, upbeat, yet sensitive

3 way ~ and it almost works.

Our hero Tony rs thrown into confusion

when his wrclowed mum announces

that she intends to rernarry, and a baby sister is imminent The trauma is intensified by his best friend's brave, but ultimately unsuccessful, battle against

1' cancer which brings to the forefront a

host of buried feelings aboot his own father's death,

Not exactly light-hearted stuff, but TAG does manage to inject a good deal

. of humour, prompting genuine laughter

from the initially attentive y0ung audience After 90 minutes, however, burns start to shift in seats and the attention span of the 9—12-year-olcls has definitely been stretched to the lrrnrt. The show is charged full of energy and the pace rarely falters, but a Subject as intense as bereavement needs more than loud music, a vrbrant set and a clynarnrc cast to tug at the heartstrrngs The ultimate message of Me goes on', is of cocrrse a valrcl one and the birth of Tony's new sister leads to a touching moment of family bonding, but by this time many of the young minds were thinking about raCrng to the t0rlet or what sweets to buy on the way home Children's theatre is a difficult nut to Crack, rt being virtually impossible for an

Bar room bits: love. Lies, Bleeding

observed. The dialogue is humorous and paCy - qurte an achievement given that a great deal of background and scene-setting is going on at the same time.

However, the characters are mostly romantrCised rather than rornantrc, which means Rarndocj misses its second target. Porgnant it isn't, as the audience gets little chance to empathise wrth Dan (Sean Scanlan) and Nancy (Barbara Rafferty) who are searching for love despite the all-too-present ghosts of their former partners. Their motivations, and those of the other characters, seem more trite than tragic.

What remains is an entertaining whimsy which rattles along in a very satisfactory manner but has little new to say. (Stephen Naysrnrth)

adult to step inside a child’s mind. And despite writer Shaun Prenclergast atternptrng to engage the audience with a recognisable cultural reference in the form of ’death dealer', a computer game the kids have to crack to find the answer to life's rnysterres, somehow rt doesn't gurte bridge that gap,

(Kelly Apterl

Revrewed at Scottish internatrona/ Children's Festival For tour dates, see page 87.

NEW PLAY Blue Heron In The Womb

Glasgow: Tron Theatre until Sat 30 May is- e e

Birth and death are major themes of Ian Rowlands’ new play for Cardiff- based Theatr Y Byd. Both appear in the opening sentence, so you know it’s not going to be a joyful affair. Sure enough: two funereal rituals, two suicides, death by fatalistic accident and childbirth all occur within its 75 minutes. Central to the tragedy is a devastatingly insensitive patriarchal belief system.

The plot concerns a family whose twin daughters share a lover. One has had his child, then lost it in a car accident, and is pregnant again. Her sister and mother are ravaged by bitterness, jealousy, blame and humiliation. The traditionalist father, locked into his masculine conventionality, propels himself and all others to catastrophy.

The quality of Rowlands’ writing is not in question. Symbol-laden and poetic, laced with grim humour, its language is naturally reminiscent of Dylan Thomas. But he is uneasily poised between social drama and existentialism: the characters' inner lives are revealed through agonised monologues; but in the absence of a strong narrative or a familiarity with the characters, it is difficult to engage with them: these slivers of raw pain are strangely uncompelling.

Rowlands’ production is dimly lit and austere, but seriously marred by gimmickry. Harnesses clunk and clips dangle promiscuously in the lights; the sea is represented by an item only describable as a giant condom; the climax involves a preposterous helmet device, copious stage-blood and a life-size baby doll. These literalist contrivances serve only to hamper an otherwise theatrical staging, hindering the very capable cast and damaging the show‘s rhythm without achieving any useful effect.

One suspects that Rowlands’ writing might benefit from re- interpretation by an outside director. His sense of what he is trying to say is clearly strong, but at times he is his own worst enemy. (Andrew Burnet)

Birth traumas: Blue Heron In The Womb

fActional productions

C‘Oplex The Trilogy

x. : after Sophocles and Aeschylus directed by Mariela Stevenson

A death in the family: Gayanne Potter and Jay Manley in Little Victories

STAR RATINGS ‘K e w it 3" Unmissable 1.: as it a Very good is s a Worth a shot a a Below average a You've been warned

Tue 2 - Sat 6 June 7.30pm 2650/2350 ‘Sure/y the gods cannot hate me so much

Company Theatre Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me

by Frank McGuiness directed by Kate Wooldridge

Tue 9 Sat 13 June 7.30pm £6.50/E3.50

2 I0! 1 ticket otter on opening nights

Tickets available ill advance from me

Arches Box Office 0141 221 4001 or in person at 30 Midland St Glasgow

28 May 11 Jun 1998 THE lIST 61