AMERICAN CLASSIC The Price
Musselburgh: Brunton Theatre, until Sat 10 Oct t *1:
Some say Arthur Miller’s The Price is Death Of A Salesman’s natural sequel. Certainly the themes are similar: the shattered American dream; slavish trust in the work ethic; and extremes of sibling rivalry and filial loyalty. But The Price is more circuitous and complex; and has fewer fireworks than the 1949 classic.
Written and set in 1968, The Price resurrects the intense betrayal experienced by that generation of
NYPD blues: Derek Lord and Monica Gibb in The Price
Americans for whom loss of capital in the Depression meant instantaneous denial of dignity.
Forty-nine-year-old NYPD officer Victor gave up a chance to study for a promising career in science to support his father, a former millionaire decimated by the Depression. His surgeon brother Walter went on to fame and fortune. Sixteen years after their father’s death, Victor is clearing his father’s apartment prior to demolition. He and furniture salesman Solomon are concluding a deal, when Walter enters.
There follows a classic exchange, arguing the niceties of ennoblement, the ideology of envy and even the psychology of furniture-dealing. The play compares the predicament of solidly vulnerable Victor, who feels washed up at 49, Solomon, who's born again at 89, and Walter who, like Victor's wife Esther, appears to lust for success, wealth and power.
Evelyn Barbour's design and Bevis Evans-Teush's atmospheric lighting are effectively naturalistic. And Phil McCall plays Solomon with superb compassion and humanity, milking every drop out of this dynamic character. You will never regard a third-ager in quite the same light.
But David Mark Thomson’s dextrous direction fails to enliven some drawn- out sections. Some of the N00 Yoick accents are distinctly dodgy, ranging from lmperialist Russian to Welsh Pakistani. Inevitany this lessens the dramatic impact of certain key moments. (Gabe Stewart)
BLACK COMEDY Spurt! Glasgow: Arches Theatre, until 10 Oct.
East Kilbride Arts Centre, Thu lS-Sat 17 Oct at a * ir
Citing Dario F0 and Joe Orton as inspirational models in the programme and publicity for Spurt! was a bold move by Tangerine Productions, inviting unfavourable comparisons as it does. Thankfully, Raymond Burke's new play contains enough comic invention, heavy-handed satire and outright filth to hold its own in such exalted company.
The premise is deceptiver straightfonivard: a doctor has developed a method for identifying and eradicating 'deviant’ genes. He wishes to share his discovery with the planet, while his mercenary wife plots to hawk the data to the highest bidder. An idea which could have worked well as drama is instead cranked up and works brilliantly as farce. Sado-masochism, adultery, lesbianism, masturbation, transvestism, obscene holy relics and royal semen are tossed together for two frantic hours, leaving the audience almost as breathless as the cast.
The acting varies in tone, but this is no bad thing. Grant Smeaton (who also directs) does a surprisingly subtle turn in drag as the venal, acid-tongued Marge Spurt, while Paul Reilly and Ross Stenhouse are also relatively restrained. As restrained as it's possible to be when repeatedly changing gender, identity and sexual orientation, anyway. Their performances leave room enough for
Seminal comedy: the cast of Spurt!
Russell Waters to go ballistic as a patriotic police inspector, while the astonishing Pauline Goldsmith performs a kind of vivisection on the English language as Nurse Bunhouse. Think Betty Boop meets Sally Bowles, but from Ulster, and with an elephant tattooed on her inner thigh.
The occasional fluffed line or laboured piece of staging are mere kinks, forgivable early in a show's run, which will no doubt be ironed out by the time you see it. And you should, because Spurt! is more fun than being shut in a cubicle with the erotic publication of your choice. (Rob Fraser)
12 Ashton Lane
I Sunday Lunch \J
On Sunday aﬁernoon our Clay‘s prepare a superb and innovative menu. Relax and
r enjoy a wonderful three—course lune/J and a glass of
Excellent value at f 1 6 per person.
Tel 0141—334 5007
Mr Gloucester Rory McCann
Oliver David Hepburn Nadia Karen Bertellotti Martin Taig McKendry
The Actor’s Workshop
by [20%|in D,\l2c§l|’.\|. l'lNC‘ll
will take place in The TRYST, Cresswell Street, Glasgow G12 8AG at 7.30pm, Wed 7th. Thur 8th. Fri 9th & Sat l0th October 1998. £2.50
Tickets or door:
Information: Tel. 0141 226 5822 Tel/Fax 0141 337 2304.
Ryan O'Shea Alessandro Conetta James V'. Findlay Barbara Ramsay
. 4,7» "I, ,
9 — 24 October (Tuesday — Saturday) Tickets: £7 — £16, Students Half Price (Tues — Thurs in Grand Circle and Stalls) Box Office: 0131 248 4848
hérése Raquin Emile Zola
adapted by Stuart Paterson
‘ oyal .lﬁllllllllﬂliﬂllﬂ gyceum heutre ompany
in association with
84 THE LIST 8-22 Oct 1998