Brunton Theatre Company presents
by Arthur Miller
With Derek. Lord (of High Road) Monica Gibb Phil McCall John Yule
25 Sept - 10 Oct, 7.30pm Tickets £7.50 (£3.50)
Matinee 3 Oct 2.30pm Tickets 534.50 (533.50)
BOX OFFICE 0131 665 2240
58 THE llST 211 Sep—8 Oct 1998
Britannia Rules fr it \k “k at
Liz Lochhead’s second premiere in as many months details the changes wrought on Scottish society between the outbreak of World War II and Coronation Day. With wit and wisdom, Lochhead contrasts these two eras with our ideas of nationhood today.
The first act (formerly a short children's play Shanghar‘ed) takes us through three wee Clydebank evacuees’ experience of sharing an Argyllshire country house with upper- class eight-year-old Emily. The second half sees the Quartet reunited in Clydebank on Coronation Day.
Each one of the youngsters seems destined to miss the bus to an idealistic new future. Engaged to a rich but unsuitable fiance, Emily forms a flirtatious relationship with card- carrying SOCIalist Billy; but this is threatened by the constraints of the times, Frustrated Window-dresser Hughie anXiously wonders whether National SerVice Will make a man of him. Only Morag manages to break free by planning emigration to America.
The cast bring spectacLilar warmth and senSitiVity to a set of roles to die for. Plenty of images remain imprinted on the retina, thanks to an ingenious over-sized set and the interplay of
It's my party... Jenny Fraser and Vicki Liddelle in Britannia Rules
historic stills and footage. Lochhead's ear for language places us unerringly in a precise time and place, and Tom Cownie’s deft and delicate direction makes the most of many moments of comic light and shade.
The play ends mid-stride over a preCipice, not unlike our Royals, and it's tempting to wonder where these characters would be today, towards the end of the Elizabethan monarchy. Guard/an critic Michael Billington very recently accused Scottish playwrights of being politically mute. Here, what is most powerful is what is left unsaid. (Gabe Stewart)
ADAPTATION A Clockwork Orange
Stirling: MacRObert Arts Centre, Tue 29—Sat 3 Oct
Judging by the couple who walked out after a mere 25 minutes of Northern Stage's ambitious, if ultimately unsatisfying performance, A Clockwork Orange still has the power to appal. Their departure was prompted by the senseless and brutal assault and murder of an elderly lady, the crime which results in head droog Alex's arrest, incarceration, programming, de- programming and eventual release Qtiite what they were expeCIing from their night out at the theatre remains a mystery
As With most productions of A Clockwork Orange, this is closer to the balletic VlOiCltCC of the Withdrawn Stanley Kubrick niowe than to the sharp analysis of the fundamentals of chOice and rich new language of Anthony Burgess' book. Indeed, the filmic qualities of the show are enhanced by the bombardment of images and SOunds from the huge
Machine head: Alex Elliott as Alex in A Clockwork Orange
backdrop yideo screens Allied to this is choreographed mastery, which allows the set of scaffolding and beds to be frequently spun away ‘.‘~.’liilt’)t1i loppinc: off any limbs
The problems arise when the production shrinks in scale The lengthy dialogues which form the core of the work seem pOSItively Lilliputian after the intense and unsettling drama of Beethoven acting as a soundtrack to a gang-rape or police brutality If, unlike the unfortunate pair, you can handle the Violence, some of it is stunningly accurate ~ the crack of one head-butt makes it all the way to the balcony — but other moments are too limp and staged
No analysis of this work would be complete Without a verdict on the lead player of Alex in this instance, Alex Elliott succeeds in the essential task of gaining sympathy despite all his atrocIties, yet too often delves into chest-thumping bluster worthy of Keith Prodigy, rather than the seething frustrations of Malcolm McDowell (Brian Donaldson)